BurnBot Raises $20M for Innovative Wildfire Prevention Technology

Fire burning in the mountains at nighttime in background with lake and park lights in foreground

Photo by Mike Newbry on Unsplash

by | Apr 3, 2024

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With technology to bolster the fight against increasing wildfire incidents, BurnBot announced a successful $20 million financing round to enhance its mechanized vegetation management and fuel treatment solutions. The funding round, led by ReGen Ventures and supported by an impressive consortium of corporate and citizen investors, signifies a forward-thinking step towards preventing the widespread devastation caused by wildfires.

A Multifaceted Approach to Wildfire Prevention

At the heart of BurnBot’s mission is a comprehensive strategy to mitigate wildfire risks, reduce ignitions around critical infrastructure, establish fuel breaks to protect homes and communities, and restore forests and watersheds with beneficial fire. Anukool Lakhina, Co-Founder and CEO of BurnBot, emphasized the company’s commitment to amplifying efforts across these critical areas, stating, “We are delighted to have the commitment from this investor group, which will allow us to scale our manufacturing and field operations, advancing towards a future that is resilient against destructive wildfires.”

Innovating Prescribed Burns

Though essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems and reducing wildfire risks, the traditional process of prescribed burns faces challenges such as labor intensity, seasonal limitations, and potential escape fires. BurnBot’s groundbreaking RX technology, a mechanized prescribed fire system, introduces a solution allowing precise fire deployment within a controlled chamber, drastically reducing smoke and escape risks. Waleed “Lee” Haddad, Co-Founder and CTO of BurnBot, says that the RX technology can enable small crews to treat areas up to ten times faster than traditional methods.

Real-World Impact and Testimonials

BurnBot’s technology has already been used in California and Oregon, demonstrating its ability to enhance the efficiency and safety of fuel treatment operations. From aiding Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in deploying prescribed fire under high-voltage transmission lines to facilitating a 40-acre fuel break for the City of San Rafael in just five days, BurnBot’s system proves to be a game-changer in vegetation management and wildfire prevention.

Looking Ahead: A Planetary-Scale Solution

This infusion of capital into BurnBot recognizes a critical need for innovative solutions in combating wildfires. Dan Fitzgerald, Managing Director of ReGen Ventures, praised BurnBot as the “world’s first robot for scaling ‘good fire,’” aligning with their investment philosophy to support technologies capable of addressing global challenges.

Chris Anthony, former Chief Deputy Director of CAL FIRE, underscored, “This investment in BurnBot is a catalyst that will deploy new technologies to boost workforce capacity and significantly advance California’s aim to treat 1 million acres annually and the US Forest Service’s goal of treating 50 million acres over the coming decade, meaningfully reducing wildfire risk while protecting lives, communities and critical watersheds.”

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