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AI Could Spot Wildfires Faster Than Humans

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California wildfire, 2014

Credit: Getty Images

Artificial intelligence software has been sifting through the images of 21 tower-mounted cameras in Sonoma County, Calif., comparing them with historical photographs. If anything looks out of place, the system alerts the fire emergency center. The goal is to investigate potential fire starts earlier and get firefighters to them more quickly.

In the weeks since the technology was fully activated, AI has bested 911 calls by as much as 10 minutes—a small time window but one that can mean the difference between a scorched smudge and a runaway wildfire.

Similar early-detection technology is being tested in New Mexico, and scientists in Brazil have deployed an AI system that processes images from tower-mounted 360-degree cameras, alerting local officials about any apparent fires.

From Scientific American
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