Coogan, S.C.P. et al., 2020. A review of machine learning applications in wildfire science and management. Environmental Reviews, 28(3), p.73. Available at: https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/10.1139/er-2020-0019#.X1jbKtNKhTY.
Artiﬁcial intelligence has been applied in wildﬁre science and management since the 1990s, with early applications including neural networks and expert systems. Since then the ﬁeld has rapidly progressed congruently with the wide adoption of machine learning (ML) methods in the environmental sciences. Here, we present a scoping review of ML applications in wildﬁre science and management. Our overall objective is to improve awareness of ML methods among wildﬁre researchers and managers, as well as illustrate the diverse and challenging range of problems in wildﬁre science available to ML data scientists. To that end, we ﬁrst present an overview of popular ML approaches used in wildﬁre science to date, and then review the use of ML in wildﬁre science as broadly categorized into six problem domains, including: 1) fuels characterization, ﬁre detection, and mapping; 2) ﬁre weather and climate change; 3) ﬁre occurrence, susceptibility, and risk; 4) ﬁre behavior prediction; 5) ﬁre eﬀects; and 6) ﬁre management. Furthermore, we discuss the advantages and limitations of various ML approaches relating to data size, computational requirements, generalizability, and interpretability, as well as identify opportunities for future advances in the science and management of wildﬁres within a data science context. In total, we identfied 300 relevant publications up to the end of 2019, where the most frequently used ML methods across problem domains included random forests, MaxEnt, artiﬁcial neural networks, decision trees, support vector machines, and genetic algorithms. As such, there exists opportunities to apply more current ML methods — including deep learning and agent based learning — in the wildﬁre sciences, especially in instances involving very large multivariate datasets. We must recognize, however, that despite the ability of ML methods to learn on their own, expertise in wildﬁre science is necessary to ensure realistic modelling of ﬁre processes across multiple scales, while the complexity of some ML methods, such as deep learning, requires a dedicated and sophisticated knowledge of their application. Finally, we stress that the wildﬁre research and management communities play an active role in providing relevant, high quality, and freely available wildﬁre data for use by practitioners of ML methods.