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Introducing the Wildfire Challenge


By Jo-Fai Chow | minute read | November 05, 2021

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We are excited to announce our first AI competition for good – Wildfire Challenge .

We’ve structured this challenge to be a global collaborative effort to do good for the world that we share. We want teams to submit their ideas and applications freely, knowing that other teams will learn from what they’ve done to improve their AI application. We believe this is in the spirit of progress and innovative freedom. Based on this open philosophy, we have multiple awards for competing teams, and we will award teams for participation and each application submission.

  • First submission $1.5k for each of the top 10 submissions
  • Final submission $3k for each of the top 5 submissions
  • Swag packages for all participants who submit

Interested in applying your AI skills to fighting wildfire? Read on.

The Challenge

Wildfires (a.k.a. bushfires) are a serious problem that threatens lives, communities, wildlife, and forests every year, with global climate change, it is getting worse. They are a global issue and are considered one of the most dangerous disasters we face. While humans cause many fires, other factors, including wind, lightning, drought, and landscape, impact where fires occur and how they spread.

Wildfires present unique and severe forecasting challenges. Compared to storms, such as hurricanes, wildfires are ambiguous and hard to predict, especially when you start looking at large, intense wildfires. Those fires combine complex weather, different landscapes, fuel sources such as housing materials or dry forests, and more.

This challenge aims to provide first responders, local leaders, businesses, and the public with new AI applications that can be used to help save lives and property. We expect the participants and teams to build for one of these audiences, but we want to make sure you have the creative freedom to decide which one to design for, as that will lead to a greater breadth of new applications being built.

At the end of this challenge, teams will submit open source AI applications that help in some way with the following: 

  1. Predicting the behavior of wildfires
  2. Predicting where wildfires will start
  3. Reducing the loss of life and property from wildfires

We expect solutions to be directly applicable to numerous organizations that are working on these problems today, and we’ll continue to share how the submissions are being used to prevent and contain wildfires. 


Team Size and Registration – Individuals and teams of up to 5 participants can compete. All participants must register individually.

Key Dates

The challenge has started and there will be two submissions for the challenge. Participants must submit their AI application in the first submission to participate in the final.

  • Challenge Start Date – November 4th
  • Submission Start Date – November 8th
  • First Submission – December 15th
  • Final Submission – January 15th

Submission Requirements

The following elements are required for the AI application submission. All elements will be part of a single .zip file submission.

  1. Description of the solution – README.{txt, md, rst, word, pdf, latex, powerpoint}
  2. Technical documentation to be able to replicate the submitted solution
  3. Dataset/Dataset references – which datasets were used, where are they located, how to get them (should be reproducible)
  4. Instructions to replicate model training process
  5. Instructions on running the submitted AI application
  6. Any other notes – e.g., open issues, unimplemented improvements
  7. Training code (e.g., Jupyter, Zeppelin notebooks, Python code, or it is part of the application)
  8. AI app in the form of:
    • Wave app (.wave file)
    • R Shiny
    • Python Streamlit
    • Dockerfile
    • Notebooks

What datasets can be used?

Any publicly available dataset.

For more information, please visit 

How to Get Started

First of all, fill out this form  and activate your account. You will have access to our challenge platform  as well as our H2O AI Cloud .

Free Access to H2O AI Cloud and Wildfire Challenge
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After that, click on H2O AI Wildfire Challenge  and check out the Starter Kit . You will be able to run the example application and look at the source code on GitHub .

Wildfire Challenge Starter Kit
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Wildfire Challenge Starter Kit GiHub Repo
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Hopefully, this starter kit will give you an idea of the expected outcome.

I am sure you will have questions from time to time:

Remember the first submission deadline is December 15th . Good luck!


Jo-Fai Chow

Jo-fai (or Joe) has multiple roles (data scientist / evangelist / community manager) at Since joining the company in 2016, Joe has delivered H2O talks/workshops in 40+ cities around Europe, US, and Asia. Nowadays, he is best known as the H2O #360Selfie guy. He is also the co-organiser of H2O's EMEA meetup groups including London Artificial Intelligence & Deep Learning - one of the biggest data science communities in the world with more than 11,000 members.