Proposed Prize Design Structure

@ssfred Thank you for your comment, indeed it’s very ambitious and bold - but we can at the very list hope to get there. Nonetheless, we are also looking into developing indicators to measure advancement in the field (i.e, quicker detection, quicker control), but this is still very early thinking. Please do share your thoughts. We agree with you regarding testing in extreme conditions, but still trying to figure out our limitation as well as what would be a minimal good indicator - if you have thoughts on that. Thanks again

@pzazzday Thank you for your comment. Do you have any more details on this topic? (permits for fire) and/or if there are designated areas?

It may be a bit out of focus from this challenge, but in order to find a versatile and deployable technology for this artificial wildfire in the future, what about adding the point of “controlling” wildfires in addition to detection, communication, orientation, definition, and action? For example, guiding the direction of the fire spread in a deliberate direction, controlling the exact area (at certain square miles) of the fire spread, limiting and controlling the speed of fire spread under certain sq mi per hour, and the like. The size of fire spread area may be determined in consideration with the maintenance of the ecosystem and the amount of carbon dioxide released by the forest due to the fire, the distance from adjacent wildfires at the same or certain time interval. (My apologies but I don’t have any expertise on this topic.) Anyway, is there a space to consider the challenge of unrealistic technology to “control” wildfires?

@Utobou - Your suggestion for a challenge component focusing on ‘controlling’ a wild fire is a good one and speaks to the XPrize’s introductory proviso: “XPRIZE does not believe that all fires should be extinguished - as we recognize the importance of fires in maintaining biodiversity and thinning fuel load.”

Your suggestion should be discussed/vetted here, even as it may likely complicate the challenge design (by adding another aspect/dimension to the challenge, etc.). How should this aspect (‘fire control’ versus ‘suppression’) be integrated? Is fire ‘control’ in this context simply an aspect of fire suppression?


Should this capability (i.e., to control the direction, spread and area of a wildfire for ecological-environmental purposes) be one of those ‘nice to have’ (secondary) features of this challenge, or, is it a ‘front-line’ component/aspect of the challenge?

@Eti - Golly! Ask and ye shall receive! You responses to my comments were/are pretty darned thorough, especially your points about testing under ‘extreme’ (fire-promoting) conditions; thank you for clarifying that. I was approaching this fire challenge design from the ‘erroring on the side of caution’ perspective…but, it seems that this defeats the purpose of the challenge (this makes sense to me now, although i still worry about fire control under said extreme conditions). @pzazzday was correct about this.

@Eti - in regards to your comment:

“…given that the majority (around 97%) of fires are successfully suppressed and the 3% (which evolve into large fire events) are notably affected by extreme conditions, pose the greatest risk and are on the increase - we believe it should be an important consideration for future capabilities, and thus needs to be tested.”

It is good to get actual data on wildfire suppression (source of these stats?). At first glance, this ‘97%’ seems remarkable and impressive (and it makes the 3% seem like ‘no big deal’ or a ‘manageable’ problem)…until one realizes that:

a] ‘suppression’ here does not indicate the total TIME* it takes/took to suppress those 97% of wildfires,

b] NOR how much damage (to forest, private property, human and animal life, etc.) was caused BEFORE the ‘successful’ suppression was achieved.

Thus also: these two aspects of wildfire fighting/suppression (‘hidden’ if you will’ in your fire suppression stats) would seem to be crucial (judging) ‘metrics’ (akin to the ‘deliverables’ of a creative project contract) or criteria for successfully ‘solving’ this challenge.


1] How much TIME does the integrated (detection-suppression) solution take?


2] how much DAMAGE (total forested area burned – possibly as a proxy for total damage noted in item b], above) occurs before satisfactory fire suppression occurs?


@marz62 - in regard to your question
I’m assuming that the “control” should be rather frontline of the challenge. The first reason is that sometimes “control” requires an advanced OODA process rather than just completing extinguishing. In a challenge, a team that is certainly found very early stage of artificial wildfire will be advantageous and of course, that is the technology we are looking for. However, I think that the natural forest may have more complexity compared to the forest considered in this challenge. Therefore, I thought I could add a little more complexity to this challenge by adding control aspect. Second is also the technology perspective. As you mentioned, all fires shouldn’t be extinguished. and sometimes there is a purposeful fire like slash-and-burn agriculture. In this case, in particular, as an initial stage, instead of extinguishing before the artificial fire reaches a predetermined threshold, it is necessary to identify the characteristics (geographic features, wind direction, trees habitation, and so on) and control it against natural conditions. This technology will surely provide useful solution options in the future. So I thought this element could be on the front line of the challenge. Thank you,

@Utobou Thank you, it’s an interesting perspective on the control/containment, could you elaborate more on what could be considered, in your view, a successful/effective suppression?

@Eti Thank you, too for asking this. To be honest, from now on, it may need expertise such as forestologists, biologists, geographers, professional firefighters and so on, because this controlling technology is mainly for human intentional purposes. But I personally think that at least “the exact spread area (sq mi)” at the time of fire extinguishing is completed, “the direction” towards higher or lower, east, west, south, and north on the spread of fire (for example, in case that there is an important area that you want to avoid spreading in a certain direction in a natural forest, then I would like to limit the direction even against natural tendencies), and also “the fire spread speed”. Those are in my mind.

Great comments so far, thank you everyone!

We’ve added a couple of new discussion threads - a discussion on time limits and the length of time teams should have to respond to a fire; and also a discussion on the thresholds a fire should reach before being responded to by teams.

We’d love to see any input on you might have on those! Again, thank you for all the excellent feedback so far. Looking forward to seeing more of these great discussions that have developed!

Considering most of excellent ideas and comments above , I’d like to make a try to contributing to the discussion with some of my ideas. Please, let me to introduce end-to-end approach on a system level of design, consists of of THREE key components:

  1. Early detection - implementing SWIR (Short Wave IR) cameras to detect the fire even through dense smoke.
  2. Containing high energy of fire front AND/OR knocking down multiple unexpected small hot spots, day and NIGHT - delivering a massive blitz attack of kamikaze-like, highly accurate, low-cost disposable and engineless gliders. Each glider disperses couple of hundreds litres of water that is sprayed in rain-like fashion for efficient heat absorption, while safely disintegrating into small, easily decomposable parts. Fleet of Multi-rotor drones or Gyrocopters operate as vertical elevators to dispatch the gliders from a single operational site, guided by the highly intelligent Command & Control Application. The system could deliver more than 100 tone of water per hour day and NIGHT. (thorough desk research shows that 500 litre per hour are needed to contain 1 meter of high energy of fire front and 500 litre are needed to knock down a sing small hot spot of 20X20 m^2 in area). The concept is illustrated in a short video.
  3. Command and control application - operated by firefighter officer. That’s to say that absolutely no knowledge of flying is required.

There’re much more critical questions to talk about:

  1. How to get on with early detection requirement in vast area?
  2. What is the viable economical model?
  3. What is the process to gain regulation approval?
  4. How to reaching out wide area for deploying the system in a short period of time?
  5. And probably more…

I leave all that for now.

Excitedly waiting for your (hard) comments.

I like the idea of the biodegradable bombing gliders @Almog

Ah, yes…nice to see I am not the only one here that can’t resist coming up with potential solutions/innovations…even while we discuss/debate challenge design.

*Thank you for inviting me to share my opinion regarding the Wildfires *
At this Designing a Prize stage, in order to have relevant solutions in projects, the focus should be on Preventing and Responding to wildfires.
Most often, the wildfires start with an ancient method of ground burning, to ensure quality of the ground. To Prevent these actions that can be destructive now, it needs focus on Education regarding the Beautiful, Vital and Priceless Nature, Changes in Climate and the repercussions.
From a few years ago, because the Climate Change, strong winds, high temperature, drought, transform the wildfires in a critical problem, now, what I think arrives to be mandatory, is to find and Create innovative fire extinguishing solutions. And the main focus, should be on the efficient and efficacy solutions.
The tech is very important and it has to sustain what I consider at least as important, and this is the idea; the idea on „how”; even, if it seems to be crazy at the beginning.

@Almog fascinating idea, and exactly the sort of thing we’re hoping a team might come up with in the course of the competition. Quick question: do you have any information regarding SWIR in the context of wildfire? We’re interested in learning more!

Yes, exactly…we contributors/designers (who are also solvers - I know @akb is!) should exercise some discipline there…it’s ‘challenging’ to not contribute solution ideas while contributing design ideas!

Thank you @marz62 @Almog @andracretu @akb @Utobou @pzazzday @mgollner @Terence and @ssfred for all the great feedback here on the proposed design! We have a couple of new discussion threads we’d love to see your input on, including:

Everyone’s contributions have been excellent so far, and we really appreciate all the conversations the community has had around these topics so far! Let us know if you have any questions or ideas about these topics - or if there’s other topics you’d think would be great to cover next in the design!

A short video about SWIR technology, following the @""DavidPoli "'s comment:

The capability to detect the fire front through dense smoke with SWIR camera in compare to CCD is shown here:

A few words about IR imaging in relation to wildfires. Thermal signature of the fire front is under the thermal signature of the smoke. From my experience (operating IR cameras over hundreds of hours), it is hard to separate between those two signatures, especially through dense smoke.

Last thing, the use of SWIR technology for detecting wildfires hot spots is getting highly cost effective over time.

I think SWIR technology could meet the need of accurate detection of fire front and multiple hot spots over wide area.

@Almog , thank you so much for your post and for all your helpful contributions to the community. This SWIR technology sounds pretty incredible! Are there any downsides or limitations to the technology currently?

XPrize proposal “Wildfire Control & Extinction to any event”.
I suggest establishing a prize for those who can propose a method that allows “Control & Extinguish” wildfire of large size, in forests with highly combustible material (dry material), under conditions of strong winds, currently defined as “fires outside of control ”and / or“ firestorms ”.
The Prize could be called “Wildfire Control & Extinction to any event”.
In defining the requirements to win the prize, the ability to “Control” the progress of the Wildfire in the shortest possible time should be highlighted. This must be the first and urgent objective.
To do this, you must first create a strip in the head of the wildfire to prevent it from moving forward. Then a peripheral strip must be created, so that the burned area is isolated and the wildfire is considered controlled, preventing its spread. See Data Sheet N° 2:

The “Extinction” (total), it will be determined by the management policy of the forest and of the plant mass in general. This it will determine if the total extinction is carried out or that dead trees or vegetation that could feed future fires is allowed to be consumed.
Another condition for awarding the prize would be to have the ability to achieve a “fast suppression” with high wind speeds.
At present when the conditions in which the Wildfire develops are unfavorable, highly combustible material and strong wind, the Wildfire is usually declared as “wildfire out of control”. A condition for awarding the prize would be the ability to eliminate “wildfire out of control”.
Another requirement would be to have the ability to extinguish the “fire storms”.
“A firestorm is a conflagration which attains such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires and wildfires. Although the term has been used to describe certain large fires, the phenomenon’s determining characteristic is a fire with its own storm-force winds from every point of the compass.” Wikipedia.
It is evident that with the current extinguishing methods based on throwing water with or without additives above the flames, the previous requirements cannot be met. Most of the water evaporates without reaching the target. It is necessary to reach the base of the fire with water as recommended by good extinguishing practices.
This can be achieved with my invention with Patent pending N° 20183344: “Water-CO2 cluster bombs at high pressure”. See Data Sheet No. 1: