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Revision History

 Back to Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge
Original Fields(2:10 p.m. ET, Mar 30, 2017)
Updated Fields(2:10 p.m. ET, Mar 30, 2017)

Partner Agency

Forest ServiceNational Park ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNational Aeronautics and Space AdministrationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention


Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge


Sensor system to measure air pollution during wildland fires


All official entries must be submitted via the InnoCentive website. The URL will be available on the date of launch, April 6, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. Wild fires are increasingly common events that produce significant air pollution, posing health risks to first responders, residents in nearby areas, and downwind communities. Also, wild fires are growing in frequency near more densely-populated areas.  Prescribed fires, which are used to manage ecosystems or reduce risk of wild fires, are typically managed to minimize downwind impacts on populated areas; however, people in close proximity may still be exposed to smoke.  The description “wildland fires” refers to both wild and prescribed fires. Air quality managers and public health officials have limited access to accurate information on ground-level air pollution levels in the vicinity of wildland fires, making it difficult to provide appropriate strategies to minimize smoke exposure. Most air pollution monitoring equipment is large, not easily transportable, and complex to operate. Today, emerging technologies – including miniaturized direct-reading sensors, compact/powerful microprocessors, and wireless data communications – offer the opportunity to develop new systems to quickly gather and communicate air pollution data. This challenge seeks a field-ready prototype system capable of measuring constituents of smoke, including particulates, carbon monoxide, ozone, and carbon dioxide, over the wide range of levels expected during wildland fires. The prototype system should be accurate, light-weight, easy to operate, and capable of wireless data transmission, so that first responders and nearby communities have access to timely information about local air quality conditions during wildland fire events.


Type of Challenge






Submission start

11 a.m. ET, Apr 06, 2017

Submission end

5 p.m. ET, Nov 22, 2017

The prizes

The prize name: Key Prizes The cash amount: $60,000 The prize description: This challenge will award $60,000 in cash prizes, and laboratory testing reports provided to submitters. The maximum prize for a solution meeting all challenge requirements is $60,000. If no solution meets all requirements, partial awards from $10,000 to $50,000 may be given.

The judging criteria

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The judges

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