New method can predict where lightning will spark wildfires: Calgary study

By Bill Graveland
Canadian Press in CTV News
March 11, 2018

CALGARY — Apparently lightning can strike the same place twice after all. A study by researchers at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering suggests it’s possible to predict where lightning will strike and how often. They say satellite data and artificial intelligence can help foresee where lightning poses a greater risk to spark wildfires. “That will give us a more precise description about the patterns happening in the lightning and the wildfire hazard,” said Dr. Xin Wang, one of three researchers involved in the study. “It also can be used for the future predictions about those hazards. “Those events don’t just randomly happen. They also have spatial and temporal patterns.” Lightning-caused wildfires are a growing problem in Western Canada and have been stretching fire resources to their limits.

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