Kai, together with Katia Obraczka (Computer Science and Engineering) and Ricardo Sanfelice (Electrical and Computer Engineering), received a $40,000 campus seed fund from the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). The project focuses on wildfire risk assessment by developing a decision support tool with a drone-assisted IoT (Internet of Things) monitoring network.

EUREKA: A Decision Support Tool for Wildfire Risk Assessment Using a Drone-Assisted, Scalable and Efficient UAV-Assisted IoT Monitoring Network

Monitoring the conditions in vast, inaccessible forest areas can be next to impossible, but is critical in predicting and mitigating wildfires. PI Katia Obraczka from Computer Science and Engineering and co-PIs Kai Zhu from Environmental Studies and Ricardo Sanfelice from Electrical and Computer Engineering are developing a low-cost network of both ground- and UAV-based sensors to continuously collect fine-grained environmental data to improve the accuracy of wildfire risk assessment models. The system aims to assist in predicting near-future extreme weather events, and to provide a decision support tool to help mitigate the threat wildfires pose to communities.

“We are very grateful to CITRIS UCSC for the support,” said Professor Obraczka. “It will allow us to jump-start the development of EUREKA, which will help mitigate wildfire risk by providing environmental information at adequate spatio-temporal timescales and thus improve the accuracy of wildfire risk assessment models.”


  • Lead PI: Katia Obraczka, Engineering – Computer Science and Engineering
  • Kai Zhu, Social Sciences – Environmental Studies
  • Ricardo Sanfelice, Engineering – Electrical and Computer Engineering