Fighting Wildfires with AI: A Powerful Partnership for Fire Prevention

Cal Fire, in collaboration with UC San Diego and Watch California, has recently implemented an innovative AI technology to detect and prevent wildfires in Fresno County and throughout the state of California.

By utilizing artificial intelligence, this cutting-edge system has the capability to identify early signs of wildfires, sometimes even before a single 911 call is made. It effectively monitors over a thousand cameras installed by Cal Fire, scanning for the first spark that could ignite a devastating blaze.

Battalion Chief Seth Brown of CalFire emphasizes the immense assistance provided by the AI system, allowing computers to continuously monitor the camera feeds and promptly detect smoke or fire. This technological advancement is particularly crucial as last year’s unusually wet winter has resulted in a larger abundance of fuel to burn.

The pilot program has been successfully implemented in six of CalFire’s emergency command centers across California. One command center located in the valley specifically monitors areas in Madera, Mariposa, and Merced. Remarkably, the AI system has already detected and reported over 77 fires before any emergency calls were made to 911.

The significance of this early detection system cannot be overstated. By identifying wildfires at their inception, lives and properties can be safeguarded. Rapid intervention, including the swift deployment of ground forces and aerial resources, becomes possible when fires are spotted early. This proactive approach is vital for minimizing the devastating impact of wildfires.

For those interested, the public is welcome to access the live feeds from the surveillance cameras on the Alert California website. Stay informed and contribute to the collective efforts in averting wildfire tragedies through this accessible platform.


What technology is being used to detect and prevent wildfires?

CalFire has partnered with UC San Diego and Watch California to deploy AI technology that can detect early signs of wildfires.

How does the AI system work?

The AI system continuously monitors over a thousand cameras installed by CalFire, effectively scanning for smoke or fire. It can identify potential wildfires even before a 911 call is made.

Where is the AI system currently being used?

The pilot system is currently operational in six of CalFire’s emergency command centers across California, including one in the valley that monitors parts of Madera, Mariposa, and Merced.

How successful has the AI system been so far?

The AI system has detected and reported over 77 fires before any emergency calls were made to 911, proving its effectiveness in early detection.

Why is early detection of wildfires important?

Early detection allows firefighting resources to be mobilized swiftly, increasing the chances of preventing further spread and reducing potential damage to life and property.

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