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In Response to Fires, a Startup Maps Out Every Tree to Assist and Predict Fire Loss



As the global climate continues to change, fire seasons have increasingly proven to grow in mass causing irreversible damage. In response to fires and smoke, a new satellite imaging program called the California Forest Observatory, will work with fire authorities to help monitor fires. 


Launched by the startup Salo Sciences, satellites are used in coordination with AI to map over “hot” spots. Each of these locations are symbolic of a real tree which allows authorities to see where fires are starting. This also lets firefighters see how damaging they might become by reading data on wind speed, direction, canopy height, and more.


Fire Map via California Forest Observatory

California Forest Observatory


The satellites orbit our planet while taking images of the Earth’s surface to then gather information via laser technology. This process is then fed through an algorithm to determine factors such as tree height. 


According to David Marvin, co-founder and CEO of Salo Sciences, there is nothing on Earth like it, and traditional use ofCal lidar—mounted on a low flying aircraft, is a very slow and expensive process.


With the amount of power and information available at our fingertips, it is crucial we continue to look at our relationship with technology. 


Canopy cover, King Range Conservation Area, California via Salo Sciences


In a statement on their website, Salo Sciences confirms, “While we’re in many ways a technology company, we design ecological solutions that use technology, not the other way around. Unlike others who map forests as part of a broader portfolio, we focus solely on environmental mapping. Instead of advertising how our technologies could be used for conservation, for us, it’s the only application.”


Change continues to unfold and we are poised in a time utilize fitting technology to respond accordingly. It is through the decisions we make that will lend to the outcome of our evolution—as a species and as a planetary system. 


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