With Boulder, Colorado’s December wildfire tragedy fresh in our minds, we all recognize how destructive wildfires can be. On the front line of battling wildfires is early detection.
FireScout technology analyzes camera images and can identify a wildfire with 99% accuracy within minutes said Bow Rogers, President of FireScout, "And the simple logic is the faster you get there, the faster you can put it out and not let it become a disaster."
Cameras identify smoke during the day and infra-red sensors identify flames in the dark. The system then sends a location and image to first responders within a minute.
The company developed the program and trained it with over 10 million real wildfire images dating back to 2013.
"And then as new alerts are coming in, whether it's true or false positive, either a real wildfire or not, we are able to automatically retrain that system and the algorithm gets smarter and smarter," said Sales Manager Robert Grey to FOX Weather’s Steve Bender at the Natural Disasters Expo on Monday.
"There are over 1,000 cameras deployed, mostly in the western United States as well as Australia," said Grey. "We're currently monitoring 300 cameras live and delivering alerts to first responders, most in California. We have pilots starting very soon in Australia as well."
PG&E, California’s largest utility launched a pilot program with the technology last year. "We’ve learned so far that the software is really good at spotting wisps of smoke from long distances and ruling out the false positives," said PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras.
The technology successfully provided early warning for the 2021 River Fire.
"Every bit of data and intelligence that comes to us could potentially save a life," said PG&E Chief Risk Officer Sumeet Singh.
The Insurance Information Institute reported that Colorado’s Marshall Fire on December 30, 2021, was the most destructive in the state’s history and estimates $1 billion in insured losses.
More than 4.3 million households are at high to extreme risk of wildfire nationwide, with two million properties in California alone according to Verisk’s Wildfire Risk Analysis.
Check out FOXWeather.com where reporters will show us the latest developments in mitigating the toll of natural disasters from the Natural Disaster Expo.