In a world where artificial intelligence is growing in use and popularity, it has officially reached first responders. Cal Fire will begin incorporating artificial intelligence into its battles against wildfires. Working out of the main Cal Fire Emergency Command Center, the artificial intelligence will be used to identify wildfires with cameras. These cameras will be able to detect smoke completely on their own without any assistance or interference from the human eye. According to fire Captain Chris Africa, the camera’s design allows them to move based on indicators from the artificial intelligence.
Dispatch monitors display a red box over areas in which cameras detect smoke.
Chris Africa calls the alerts of a wildfire from the artificial intelligence camera’s signatures. With the software that they have currently, they can access the camera’s database and see any signatures that it is detecting. These signatures would then represent places it believes to have smoke or places that depict some sort of unknown sight for the cameras.
Artificial intelligence’s use for Cal Fire applies to tech that will allow them to identify where a wildfire may go. The technology is quite new and detects the direction of the wildfire’s travel based on input information of topography and wind speeds in the fire’s location. The Battalion Chief of Cal Fire, David Krussow uses his cell phone to view the computer models.
He describes the tech as a “game changer.”
He explains that “to know that this is exactly where the fire is right now, and this is the direction that it’s going is extremely valuable information.”
Cal Fire has been on the trend of using and implementing new technologies to fight wildfires. Last year they used drones for the first time ever in their wildfire battles. The drones were used to drop pellets which helped set backfires in places where the fires were too dangerous to have on-the-ground firefighters.
As summer urges on and we continue to see record heat, we expect a bad year for California wildfires. Governor Gavin Newsom has been a huge advocate for implementing new technologies to fight fires. He has said several times before that his ultimate goal is to keep as many Californians safe from wildfires as possible. He and many other officials believe that with the wildfire detecting artificial intelligence, the largest aerial firefighting team, and a huge amount of firefighters on the ground, California is well on its way to keep its people safe this summer.