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California Uses AI To Prevent Forest Fires

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection introduced the ALERTCalifornia fire detection program. The agency has developed an artificial intelligence solution in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego.

AI reads information from more than 1 thousand cameras to identify anomalies. Cameras from drones and aircraft are also used – with their help, three-dimensional scanning of the area is carried out. When smoke or other fire signals are detected, the system notifies the rescue services and authorities, who decide on the need for fire fighting or rescue operations. The system has already been able to nip in the bud at least one fire that flared up in the Cleveland National Forest east of San Diego – the fire was extinguished in 45 minutes.

ALERTCalifornia was developed on the basis of AI by the Californian company DigitalPath. The department has invested more than $20 million in the program over the past four years and plans to invest more than $3.5 million in the near future.

Neil Driscoll, a professor of geology and geophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, told Reuters that ALERTCalifornia’s current sample size is too small to determine the overall effectiveness of the program.

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