Fire Hazard Estimation Using Point Process Methods

The goal of this project is to develop and assess spatial-temporal models for Los Angeles County wildfires. Currently, fire department officials rely heavily on the Burning Index (BI), which uses weather data recorded at various Remote Automatic Weather Stations, and blends these records together using a complex non-linear dynamic model in order to output a number that is often interpreted as a measure of overall wildfire hazard. However, the BI turns out not to be an effective predictor of wildfire activity in Los Angeles County. We are exploring alternatives, including simple point process models using the same weather variables as those used in the computation of the BI, as well as the history of prior local wildfire activity.