An Impactable Case Study: Rain's Autonomous Aircraft for Wildfire Response


Wildfires have reached alarming levels of severity, posing significant environmental and social challenges, and the climate catastrophe is only getting worse.  In the United States, the average number of acres burned in wildfires has increased by nearly 160% over the last 40 years. These devastating fires not only threaten lives, homes, and ecosystems but also contribute to air pollution, carbon emissions, and long-term ecological damage. In 2021 alone, global wildfires were responsible for 1.76 billion tonnes of carbon emissions. The urgent need for innovative solutions to combat wildfires has prompted companies like Rain to pioneer the use of autonomous aircrafts to respond swiftly and effectively to these disasters.

Rain’s technology enhances military and civil autonomous aircrafts with the intelligence to perceive, understand, and suppress wildfires efficiently. Their technology equips fire agencies with a new layer of safety for human-piloted missions and enables the command of a network of unmanned aircraft prepositioned in remote areas to reduce response time. In September 2023, Rain announced $9.7 million in seed financing, led by DBL Partners, with participation from VoLo Earth Ventures, Kapor Capital, and Convective Capital, supporting their mission to provide fire agencies the ability to contain wildfires before they escalate.

We used Impactable’s AI-powered impact measurement and management (IMM) software to analyze Rain’s impact potential on greenhouse gas emissions reductions, land preservation, livelihoods and human health using conservative assumptions.


1. Assuming a 20% reduction in response time, Rain can save 7.9 hectares of land, reduce 659.2 tonnes of carbon emissions, prevent 322.4 hours of smoke exposure, and save 5.6 lives per wildfire.

2. For every hour of burn time that Rain prevents, over $2.1M in social and environmental impact value is generated.

3. A 20% reduction in wildfire containment time (from 1248 hours average to 1200 hours) using Rain's autonomous aircrafts would save $525M per wildfire.

4. The largest contribution to Rain’s impact is from lost wages due to wildfire smoke exposure,  driven by recent research which has found that an additional day of wildfire smoke exposure reduces a person’s quarterly earnings by 0.1%.


1. Define Key Impact Metrics

Impactable defined "Hours Required to Contain a Wildfire Using Autonomous Aircraft" as one of their catalytic metrics.

2. Attribution: Compare Rain's Effectiveness to Existing Conditions

Impact is all about change. We always compare innovations to the most likely scenario or scenarios in their absence. In this case, research shows that standard wildfire containment takes 52 days or 1248 hours. If Rain's autonomous aircraft can reduce this by 20% 1000 hours, they will save 248 hours of burn time.

3. Quantify Direct Outcomes

We then measure the direct, first-order outcomes, in this case, reduced time to contain wildfires. It's important to note that we evaluate all outcomes using unit economics. Here, we will dive into the precise effects of containing a single wildfire more quickly. Later on, we will scale this analysis to encompass the total number of wildfires contained on a quarterly or yearly basis to quantify aggregate impact at a company-level.

4. Quantify Second-Order, Indirect Outcomes

Through a blend of tailored AI algorithms and expert analysis, we quantify the second-order ripple effects. By cutting down wildfire containment time by 20%, Rain can save 7.9 hectares of land, reduce 659.2 tonnes of carbon emissions, prevent 322.4 hours of smoke exposure, and save 5.6 lives per wildfire.

5. Quantify Impact Value

Impact is value. Wildfires are an extremely expensive problem. In this case, the estimated property damage cost alone - per hectare of land burned - stood at $1,419.40. With 0.032 hectares burning per hour on average, there would be $45.42 in property damages for each hour of wildfire burn time. We ran this analysis for each of Rain’s outcomes: carbon emissions reductions, land preservation, livelihoods and healthcare.

6. Calculate Cumulative Impact

With a unit-level impact analysis complete, we can forecast impact potential on top of sales and revenue projections. Assuming that rain will contain 181 wildfires from 2023 to 2027 their total impact value will be nearly $95 billion, averaging around $525 million per wildfire. If Rain generates $18.1 million in revenue ($100K per wildfire) over 5 years, they would create $5,241 in impact value for every $1 in revenue (5,241x Impact Multiple of Revenue). Assuming they raise $37.2 million during their next round, they will unlock $2,550 in impact value for every $1 invested (2,550x Impact Multiple of Capital).

With these kinds of analytics, Rain is well positioned to approach new customers, delight existing ones and illustrate to both current and future impact investors the results they drive.

Want an analysis like this for your company or portfolio? We invite you to book a call with us here.  Let’s build and invest in the solutions with the greatest potential for impact at scale. Impactable maximizes the value and minimizes the burden of generating the proof points that matter most.

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