Augmented Intelligence and Prefire Wildfire Risk Assessment

Athena Intelligence
3 min readApr 25, 2024

In the Context of Native American Communities and Tribal Lands

Although megafires have been increasing in frequency and severity, Native American communities have lived in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) for centuries. This means Tribal GIS Specialists live in two worlds: contemporary technology (GIS platforms, sensor data and Athena’s AI prefire risk assessment data) and in a culture that values nature. One of their strengths is making wildfire risk information accessible decision makers, enhancing both the efficiency of wildfire mitigation efforts and increasing community resilience.

Jemez Pueblo & Wildfire, Photo Credit Ignacio Peralta (2003)

Artificial Intelligence can play a role. Athena Intelligence prefers the term Augmented Intelligence because, while it is indisputable that computers can process numbers and data faster than humans, community-based insights and values are necessary in final decision making.

In the wildfire domain, mention AI and you’ll get two completely opposite reactions. At one end are the AI evangelists that believe AI is the answer to “managing” wildfire risk. At the other end are the veteran firefighting professionals who feel AI is something less than useless.

Despite the abundance of wildfire data available from public sources and the buzz around the potential benefits of AI, effectively harnessing it for mitigation strategies remains a challenge. Athena has an algorithm, Voice of the Acre®, that helps manage wildfire risk by fusing the two worlds into a solution that integrates into Geographic Information Systems (GIS) systems. The result is communities that can plan smarter, faster and less expensive mitigation strategies.

On May 1st, Athena will be presenting these ideas to at the 14th Annual Tribal GIS Conference in Albuquerque.

2024, 14th Annual Tribal GIS Conference (NTGISC.regfox.com)

At the heart of Athena’s approach lies a conditional, geospatial, profiling algorithm designed to fuse AI with geospatial information (GIS) technology. This fusion not only enhances wildfire risk management but also empowers communities to strategize smarter, faster, and more cost-effectively.

While public sources abound with wildfire data, effectively harnessing it for mitigation strategies remains a hurdle. Athena’s breakthrough lies in using machine learning to revolutionize wildfire risk assessment by translating disaggregated data into prefire, actionable insights. Yet it lacks the experiential wisdom of on-the-ground operators.

Herein lies the brilliance of Athena’s approach: Augmented Intelligence (AI), a symbiotic blend of human expertise and AI capabilities. By incorporating more sources, recent data, and regional processing, Athena’s AI delivers precise analytics, enriching decision-making processes.

Crucial to Athena’s mission are GIS specialists, the linchpin in delivering information through geospatial platforms. Within tribal communities, their role is pivotal, as they navigate the intricate landscape of tribal needs and technology. Athena empowers GIS specialists to work with decision makers on dynamic wildfire protection plans and vegetation management strategies.

Athena Intelligence is a data vendor with a geospatial, conditional, profiling tool that pulls together vast amounts of disaggregated wildfire and environmental data to generate spatial intelligence, resulting in a digital fingerprint of wildfire risk. (athenaintel.io)

Clients include communities, power companies, insurance and financial services — with Athena’s geospatial intelligence incorporated into CWPPs, wildfire mitigation plans (WMP) and public safety power shutoffs, property underwriting and portfolio risk optimization.

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Athena Intelligence

Athena Intelligence weaves vast amounts of disaggregated environmental data. Drop us a line (Info@Project-Athena.com), or visit www.athenaintel.io