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(From Newswire (VNU))
In 2003, California was ravaged by some of the deadliest forest fires in its history, with up to 13 blazes raging across the state.
The impact was devastating: more than 2,000 homes were destroyed, 22 people were killed, and billions of dollars of damage was inflicted as 800,000 acres of land went up in flames.
At its peak, more than 11,000 fire fighters and 81 planes and helicopters attacked the blazes. Behind the scenes, hundreds of response teams across the state were trying to work out how to cope with the scale of the disaster.
But while confusion reigned on the ground, a series of complex algorithms coded by a group of mathematicians was quietly calculating the optimum method of response to the …