Hackathon Invitation: “Beat the Blaze – Only you can hack wildfires!” – April 16th

The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) is hosting a hackathon March 29th – April 16th to find cutting-edge, novel solutions to one of the most complex problems impacting the DoD’s ability to support firefighting efforts in emergencies across California. The winners of the Beat the Blaze hackathon will have the chance to win contract awards from a $45K pot to continue developing their solution alongside top experts.

Anyone is welcome to sign up, and you don’t have to be a coder, engineer, or computer science expert to participate. In fact, we welcome anyone who is interested in solving the problem to take part in this competition. This competition is open to both students and faculty at all academic levels.

To Register Click Here!


Multiple consecutive years of catastrophic and deadly wildfires have shattered records and impacted California, Arizona, and many states across the country in devastating ways. The organizations taking part in counter wildfire operations – including the National Guard and civilian agency partners – need a way to have full situational awareness across a given area. The abundance of high-fidelity video feeds from human-operated and autonomous aerial vehicles has vastly improved emergency responders’ ability to maintain situational awareness of a disaster scene. However, with this capability comes the complexity of integrating information and data available to Emergency Managers, while also providing video to the operators in the field with degraded communication environments

The Challenge

Increase the information sharing capacity and capabilities between the National Guard and civilian emergency response agencies during wildfire operations. For example, when wildfires engulf areas of California, the California Air National Guard mobilizes aircraft and resources to work with Cal Fire and other agencies to protect structures and save lives. Sharing and capturing data is key to mission success, but right now there are many bottlenecks that prevent effective collaboration. NSIN is looking for your ideas on new software or hardware that will allow agencies to share and gather critical data in real-time.

Focus Area: HARDWARE

Given the number of interagency partners and platforms, there may be an opportunity to resolve key questions:

  • Is the network capacity during emer­gencies capable of sharing data sizes up to Terabytes of data? Are there ways to extend the range and capacity?
  • Can current electronic devices withstand the stresses of wildfire operations? Could device capacity be enhanced while optimizing size, weight and power?

Focus Area: SOFTWARE and DATA

The current method for sharing data between agencies includes converting files to different formats manually and sharing data on physical media or cloud-hosted platforms. Key Questions:

  • Are there ways to collect and harmonize sensor feeds from different stakeholders into a common operating picture?
  • Are there improvements to the UI/UX that could help end-users understand and process sensor data?
  • Can sensor data formats be harmonized to provide a uniform solution usable by different organizations?
  • Could AI/ML techniques quickly process and identify key points within large data sets for further analysis or action?
  • Is there adequate bandwidth and capacity to store and share data?

Any information about the Hackathon can be found here.