The new initiative is part of a pilot program in collaboration with the University of San Diego’s Alert California program, which monitors 1,039 cameras placed throughout the state to keep track of potential active wildfires and other natural disasters.
The AI constantly monitors the camera feeds in search of any abnormalities such as smoke and will alert Cal Fire of the situation.
The goal of the collaboration is to improve firefighting capabilities and response times, according to a news release.
The San Bernardino, Sonoma-Lake-Napa, Madera-Mariposa-Merced, Nevada Yuba Placer, Shasta-Trinity and San Luis Obispo units will participate in the program’s trial phase.
The trial program makes Cal Fire the first and only firefighter agency in the world to have such a system in place, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Since receiving access to the AI system two months ago, the program has alerted Cal Fire to 128 incidents before 911 calls were logged. Out of those incidents, 77 were confirmed to be fires, according to data reviewed by The Times.
“By combining the expertise of CAL FIRE and UC San Diego’s ALERTCalifornia program, this groundbreaking partnership strives to create a safer and more resilient California,” a news release said.
“Together, we are working towards a future where advanced technologies enable us to effectively combat wildfires and protect our communities.”
Cal Fire has invested more than $20 million into the program within the last four years and plans to contribute another $3.5 million in the coming years, a news release said.