Wildfire Hackathon 2024

To confront one of Canada’s most pressing environmental challenges, the Wildfire Hackathon 2024 ignited innovative solutions and fostered interdisciplinary collaboration among student participants.

Organized by the Waterloo.AI Institute, WAT.ai Design Team, and the UWaterloo Data Science Club (UW DSC), and proudly sponsored by MAG Aerospace, Rogers, and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), this event harnessed the creative intellect of students from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, marking a significant stride forward in wildfire management innovation and collaboration.

This event occurred on Saturday, May 25th, 2024 – with 27 teams present and ready to tackle the challenge. More than 130 students from all six Faculties at Waterloo participated in this event.

An idea that combined solutions from multiple AI models to predict wildfire growth took the top prize at the first hackathon at the University of Waterloo intended to identify cutting-edge solutions for wildfire management. 

1st Place: We Didn't Start the Fire

"We are ecstatic to have won the Wildfire Hackathon! It’s incredibly exciting to have our work recognized by wildfire experts for its potential in wildfire forecasting and intervention. We’d like to thank the folks at the Waterloo A.I. Institute and the competition sponsors for empowering students to work on an application of AI systems for good" – Carter Demars, 1st place winner

List of Winners: Carter Demars, Trevor Yu, Areel Khan, Ken Wu, Kiernan McGuigan 

2nd Place: Cedar Bend

List of Winners: Bilal Khan, Aania Shah, Aaditya Lanke, Maanav Rajesh, Aaryaman Bhageria 

3rd Place: I'm Fine with Anything & The Optimizers

List of Winners for I'm Fine with Anything: Roman Kaharlytskyi, Dmytro Klepachevskyi, Artem Dolhyi, Abtin Abbaspour, Severyn Balaniuk 

List of Winners for The Optimizers: Ahnaf Ryan, Lakshay Goel, Khush Bhavsar, Yuqi Jing, Vyom Patel 

Insightful Messages


Bing Hu

WAT.AI Co-Founder

"Big thanks to all of the UW students for making it out to the wildfire challenge! I was very impressed with all of the innovative technical solutions that students came up with. Beyond just technical solutions, the top teams were able to demonstrate the importance of interdisciplinary thinking by applying domain knowledge on wildfires about weather, topography, and forestry to further improve technically sound solutions. I think this hackathon shows that interdisciplinary teams and thinking will win at AI. I hope everyone is looking forward to the next hackathon!"


Mike Ciezadlo

Operations Manager at MAG Aerospace

“MAG Aerospace Canada was pleased to take part in this event. These young and creative students are embracing the future with positive applications that can change the way we look at wildfire management. They took a project on, with limited knowledge of the subject matter and in a very short time, developed predictive capabilities using AI. It was a privilege to support and judge the multitude of teams. Together, we’re shaping a future where AI plays a crucial role in safeguarding our environment and communities.”

Image of MAG Aerospace Logo

And a special thanks to The National Research Council of Canada (Canada NRC) for sponsoring the event!

If you are a student looking to get involved in AI, stay up to date by following WAT.aiUW Data Science Club, and the Waterloo.AI newsletter for news on future hackathons, workshops, projects, and opportunities.

If you are in the industry looking to get involved, email Harold Godwin, Waterloo.AI’s Managing Director, to learn about opportunities.