California is planning a technology conference to help it fight wildfires

Published: December 07, 2018

CALIFORNIAEnvironment & Conservation ServicesInformation TechnologyInformation TechnologyJustice/Public Safety & Homeland SecurityNatural Resources/EnvironmentPublic UtilitiesResearch & Development

California State Officials have announced the first ever Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit to look at how modern technologies can help fight and prevent fires.

With recent years that have seen destructive wildfires, California has repeatedly developed technology-driven solutions to combat the blazes and protect its residents. Looking ahead, the state is planning a special conference devoted to developing roles for modern technologies in preventing and combatting wildfires. The first ever Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit will take place over two days in March, featuring state and local government officials, academic researchers, and representatives from the tech and communications industries.

The state has undertaken various initiatives, such as new databases to monitor evacuations of hospitals, which were required to standardize their status reporting during fires. With uniform data sets, the information could be applied to a GIS-based map to determine which areas needed to be evacuated first. Another development came in August when firefighters started using drones to map their movements while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire.

The March conference will initiate a conversation between the various groups to discuss the needs and tools to contend with wildfires. At this point, discussions at the Summit are planned to include:

  • AI-based visual recognition technology to analyze satellite imagery to determine vegetation risks in proximity to utility lines
  • Machine learning and automation inspections for increased regulatory compliance assurance
  • State-wide deployment of weather stations and cameras paired with meteorology and fire behavior modeling
  • Widespread adoption of LiDAR and advanced imaging for vegetation management and infrastructure inspections

Looking at the recent devastation caused by wildfires in 2018 alone, California is correct in making this priority, and there is a great deal of potential that technology can play in preventing and fighting fires, as well as keeping residents safe and aware. For vendors working in the public safety technology market, this may be worth monitoring for future develops if and when new initiatives come through following the Summit in March.

Source: StateScoop