With wildfire season underway, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is turning to advanced AI technology to gain actionable intelligence to attack wildfires.

The state is currently piloting a program using technology and cameras from Pano AI that leverage T-Mobile’s 5G network. DNR said the cameras and technology have enabled early detection and monitoring that has “provided richer data on wildfires as they emerge.”

“With wildfire every second counts,” said Hilary Franz, the state’s Commissioner of Public Lands. “Increased early detection through deploying technology like Pano AI means we can respond faster while fires are still small – saving lives and property while reducing costs – which is crucial as wildfire seasons get longer and more challenging.”

According to DNR, the pilot program has deployed 9 ultra-high-definition, 360-degree cameras across the state, with 12 expected to be installed by summer 2024. DNR noted that the visual data from the cameras – combined with satellites and other data feeds shaped by artificial intelligence – provide active wildfire detection and up-to-the-minute situational awareness.

The department said that using cameras to identify smoke and fires in real-time, as well as pinpoint latitude and longitude or bearing line of a fire, will significantly increase DNR’s ability to get resources on scene and alert nearby communities of danger in their area.

“We see Washington Department of Natural Resources as a national leader in adopting new technologies for wildfire mitigation,” said Sonia Kastner, CEO and founder of Pano AI. “This technology is designed to serve frontline responders by providing new tools that make firefighting safer and help enable a more swift and effective response to new ignitions.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs