Wildfire Detection

Wildfires, devastating natural disasters, threaten not only human lives but also biodiversity, ecosystems, and the global climate. To combat these destructive events and achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Climate Action, the development and implementation of advanced wildfire detection technologies have become imperative. Wildfire detection involves the use of cutting-edge sensors, satellite imagery, drones, and artificial intelligence algorithms to identify fire outbreaks swiftly and accurately.

SDG 13 aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Wildfires significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, which exacerbate climate change, creating a dangerous feedback loop. By effectively detecting wildfires in their early stages, prompt response measures can be initiated to suppress and control the fires, preventing them from escalating and emitting larger quantities of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, rapid detection can also save lives and protect valuable ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, and wildlife habitats, aligning with SDG 15: Life on Land.

The relationship between wildfire detection and SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure is evident. Technological advancements in wildfire detection have led to the development of sophisticated monitoring systems capable of real-time data transmission. These systems enhance early warning capabilities and allow for better coordination among emergency responders, enabling efficient deployment of firefighting resources. Additionally, the innovation and implementation of advanced wildfire detection technologies create opportunities for economic growth and job creation in the environmental technology sector.

Moreover, wildfire detection aligns with SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. As wildfires can encroach upon urban areas, early detection systems provide vital information to urban planners and authorities, helping them design resilient cities that consider wildfire risks. By integrating wildfire detection into urban planning, communities can develop evacuation plans, establish fire-resistant building codes, and implement landscape management strategies that minimize fire hazards.

Beyond individual SDGs, wildfire detection also supports the overarching principle of SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals. Collaboration among governments, private sector entities, research institutions, and communities is crucial for effective wildfire detection and response. International cooperation in sharing expertise, resources, and data can significantly enhance wildfire monitoring and mitigation efforts, especially in regions prone to frequent wildfires.

Area of forest burned in Canada from 1986 to 2015. Orange colour shows burned area.
This is an article on the impact of residential exposure to wildfires and the incidence of various cancers, in the context of SDGs 3, 13, and 15, focusing on the need to develop exposure metrics to better estimate the chronic population health burden attributable to environmental pollutants emitted during wildfires.

Wildfire is one of the most critical natural disasters that threaten wildlands and forest resources. Traditional firefighting systems, which are based on ground crew inspection, have several limits and can expose firefighters’ lives to danger. Thus, remote sensing technologies have become one of the most demanded strategies to fight against wildfires, especially UAV-based remote sensing technologies. They have been adopted to detect forest fires at their early stages, before becoming uncontrollable.

Wildland firefighters work on wildfire incidents all over the United States and perform arduous work under extreme work conditions, including exposure to smoke. Wildland fire smoke is a mixture of hazardous air pollutants. For assessing wildland firefighter exposure to smoke, most studies measured carbon monoixde (CO) and particulate matter and reported changes in lung health by measured lung function, airway responsiveness, and respiratory symptoms across individual work shifts and single fire seasons.


Disasters and Public Health, Second Edition, 2016.

This book chapter advances SDGs 3 and 13 by explaining the factors contributing to wildfire morbidity and mortality.