Alert California Aiding CAL FIRE’s Humboldt Del Norte Unit

The A.I. forest cameras are trained to detect plumes of smoke and notify CAL FIRE.

CAL FIRE's access to Alert California's forest cameras

Alert California’s high-definition cameras are able to pan, tilt and swivel 360 degrees. The cameras can see up to sixty miles on a clear day and have near-infrared night vision capabilities, meaning they’re on the clock 24-7.

CAL FIRE Humboldt-Del Norte Unit Intelligence Analyst Matthew Turner says that CAL FIRE has access to all of the cameras, and “they’re constantly scanning and looking for plumes of smoke.”

“We have the ability to move a camera,” Turner says.  “When the cameras are not being used, they’re in a scan mode where they’re constantly looking at the area that they’re scanning a 360 degree view. When they see an anomaly, they call it, they will automatically notify us through artificial intelligence, A.I. And we will get a notification through a text saying, ‘Hey, you might want to take a look at burchfield camera. We’re seeing some smoke plumes from that location.’   We will then look at that text and it’ll give us a link to that camera that we can click on and visually see and validate whether the ai is capturing an actual plume of smoke or if it might be rain or prescribed burns or fog or something else.” Matthew adds, “But the Alert California cameras are pretty smart.”

Once an ignition point is confirmed, Turner says he runs a program called Wildfire Analyst, which will run a simulation based on the forecasts from weather stations near the fire, and also customize the conditions to make sure they are accurate,

“we have the ability to manipulate the weather, to give it constant weather. Let’s make the wind coming from the south, because that’s really what the weather’s like.” Turner continues, “And it gives us results that a simulation gives us 4220-acre fire. It affects 17 folks in terms of population. There are potentially 66 buildings impacted by this of those 66 buildings impacted, 16 of them could be destroyed.”

Using these predictive systems, CAL FIRE has a better idea of where the fire will move, and what resources to send. “When we do see it, we’ll take a look at the different cameras at different angles where we can triangulate where that ignition is actually at,” Turner continues. “Then we send firefighters to that general area and the resources to address that incident.”