Pacific Gas &Electric is testing wildfire cameras with artificial intelligence in Butte, Yuba and Plumas counties which could expand wildfire detection capabilities to its growing camera network. There are now 487 HD cameras in operation: including 12 with AI test software in the three counties.
During extremely dry, hot, and windy weather, being able to differentiate wildfire smoke from fog and other false indicators is invaluable to analysts in PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and fire agencies. That’s why PG&E is testing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning capabilities in the growing network of high-definition cameras across Northern and Central California to see how it can enhance fire-watch and response capabilities.
This year, PG&E, in collaboration with ALERTWildfire, has installed 138 new HD cameras across High Fire-Threat Districts, in accordance with its 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan. Of those 138 cameras, 46 of them are included in the new AI testing program in partnership with Alchera and ALERTWildfire. There are two AI pilot cameras in Butte County, seven in Yuba County and three in Plumas County.
In the North Valley region, PG&E has installed 21 high-definition wildfire cameras in Butte County (2 part of the AI test); two in Colusa County; six each in Lassen and Glenn counties; 12 in Plumas (including 3 with AI); 18 in Shasta County; one in Sutter County; 12 in Tehama County; four in Trinity County and eight in Yuba County (including seven with AI).
The cameras provide 360-degree views with pan, tilt and zoom capabilities and can be viewed by anyone through the ALERTWildfire Network at www.alertwildfire.org. By the end of 2022, PG&E plans to have approximately 600 cameras installed, providing an ability to see in real-time more than 90 percent of the high fire-risk areas it serves.
PG&E began installing HD cameras in 2018, as part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program. As of Oct.31, 487 cameras are now in operation.
“Even with the two significant rainstorms in October and November, we are still in a historic drought and California, along with other western states, continue to experience an increase in wildfire risk and a longer wildfire season. We are using every new tool and technology at our disposal to improve situational awareness and intelligence to help mitigate and prevent wildfires, including this new AI capability,” said Sumeet Singh, PG&E Chief Risk Officer. “Every bit of data and intelligence that comes to us could potentially save a life.”
The pilot program is already demonstrating the AI’s potential to reduce fire size expansion. On Aug. 4, 2021, PG&E’s <…….