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Leveraging AI to Detect Forest Fires

California is utilizing artificial intelligence technology to enhance its ability to detect wildfires. The state’s firefighters have introduced an advanced method for quickly spotting forest fires.

As per a report by Reuters, video from over 1,000 cameras is analyzed by a system aimed at quickly mobilizing response teams. Named ALERTCalifornia AI, this initiative has already demonstrated its effectiveness.

Leveraging AI to Detect Forest Fires

A notable success was achieved when a camera identified a fire in the Cleveland National Forest, about 80 kilometers from San Diego, at around 3 am.

Given the fire’s early detection and remote location, it had the potential to grow into a much larger conflagration. However, the AI system’s timely alert allowed the fire department to swiftly respond and extinguish the fire within just 43 minutes.

The project, initiated by engineers at the University of California San Diego in partnership with DigitalPath, a company specializing in AI technology in California, involves 1,038 cameras, each with the capability to rotate 360 degrees.

Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency, officially launched the project on July 10. A key benefit is the ability to detect fires even in the absence of emergency calls. Nonetheless, Neal Driscoll, a geology and geophysics professor at UCSD and a key figure in the ALERTCalifornia project, warned that there is currently insufficient data to make definitive conclusions.

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