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Seminar Series: Data-Driven Wildfire Research

This seminar series explored how data science can help increase our understanding of wildfire. In recent years, wildfire has gone from an infrequent and distant news item to a centerstage isssue spanning many consecutive weeks for urban and suburban communities.

Frequent wildfires are changing everyday lives for California in numerous ways -- from public safety power shutoffs to hazardous air quality -- that seemed inconceivable as recently as 2015. Moreover, elevated wildfire risk in the western United States (and similar climates globally) is here to stay into the foreseeable future.

There is a plethora of problems that need solutions in the wildland fire arena; many of them are well suited to a data-driven approach. In this seminar series, co-sponsored by the Stanford Data Science Initiative and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment,  we heard from several Stanford researchers about how their areas of interest require a data-driven approach to find solutions to pressing wildfire problems. Each speaker presented a short 20-minute overview of a particular problem of interest, followed by a 30-minute Q&A session in hopes to create a dialog about data-driven wildland fire research.

Spring 2020-21

Mondays at 12:30pm – Seminars are held via Zoom. For log-in information contact Derek Fong at

April 5    | “Simultaneous management of fire risk, carbon storage, and human and ecosystem co-benefits”
                    Chris Field, Director, Woods Institute for the Environment, 
Stanford University

April 12  | “Zombie Forests: Fire Risk of the Standing Dead in the Sierra Nevada”
                     Avery Hill, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Biology, Stanford University

April 19 | “Data-Driven forest dryness monitoring”
                     Krishna Rao, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Earth System Science, Stanford University

April 26 | “Health Impacts of Smoke Exposure: What do we know?”
                      Mary Prunicki Sr. Research Scientist, Sean Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research, 
Stanford University

May 3     | “The Clean Air Act and wildfire smoke: What are the options?”
                    Michael Wara, Director, Climate and Energy Policy Program, 
Stanford University

May 10   | “Better measures of outdoor and indoor exposure to wildfire smoke”
Marshall Burke, Deputy Director, Center on Food Security and the Environment, Stanford University

May 17   |  “Trends in California Wildfire-related Legislature, 2001-2020”
                      Rebecca Miller, PhD Candidate, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, 
Stanford University

May 24   | “Using public records to study wildfires” 
                     Iris Hui, Senior Researcher, Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University

Formore information, please contact Derek Fong at