XPRIZE Wildfire and IBHS Join Forces to Address Wildfire Crisis

May 10 2024

A firefighter silhouetted against a wildfire

Wildfire is an essential, natural process for ecosystems, but 85-90% of wildfires today are human-caused. As our planet grapples with the repercussions of climate change, and burgeoning populations encroach upon wildfire-prone regions, the need for innovative solutions to combat the proliferation of extreme wildfires has never been more urgent. 

At the heart of the issue lies a stark reality: wildfires are escalating in frequency, intensity, and devastation, outpacing traditional firefighting methods. XPRIZE Wildfire recognizes this pressing challenge and is catalyzing a paradigm shift in wildfire management through a four-year, $11 million competition to foster the development of cutting-edge technologies capable of swiftly detecting, characterizing, and responding to wildfires before they become destructive.

But no effort of this magnitude can succeed in isolation. Collaboration is key, and XPRIZE Wildfire has entered an agreement with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). 

IBHS, a nonprofit research organization, subjects one- and two-story buildings to severe weather and wildfire in its world-class test facility and develops real-world solutions that property owners, developers, policyholders and others can use to break the cycle of destruction by creating more resilient communities. With over a decade of wildfire research, IBHS created the first-ever wildfire mitigation designation program, Wildfire Prepared Home, a system of required science-based actions shown to meaningfully reduce a home’s wildfire risk. 

Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), XPRIZE and IBHS have pledged to combine their expertise to tackle the wildfire crisis head-on by encouraging the development and validation of technologies that mitigate the risk of wildfires and enhance resilience in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios.

XPRIZE Wildfire and IBHS are joined in this collaboration by American Family Insurance, a proud member of IBHS since 1978 and a Supporting Sponsor of XPRIZE Wildfire. Through innovation, collaboration, and a shared commitment to resilience, we are paving the way for a future where humanity and beneficial wildfires can coexist harmoniously. Together, we stand poised to rewrite the narrative of wildfire management, empowering communities to thrive in the face of adversity.