The fires in the Bay Area were triggered by massive amounts of lightning strikes. For the past month, lightning has been igniting hundreds of fires that quickly started to grow, merge and spread. Firefighters use a multitude of tools to fight fires, but one might surprise you. This interesting news came to us from Government Technology in their article, “Artificial Intelligence Is Helping to Spot California Wildfires.”

Their arsenal of tools includes artificial intelligence (AI) to collect and analyze the vast data troves to pinpoint hot spots to target suppression. In the past, wildfires in remote regions were spotted by people in lookout towers who scanned the horizon with binoculars for smoke. We have come a long way from smoke signals. Fire spotting has gone high tech. The technology to address it is getting exponentially better and faster, trained by a growing body of data about wildfires.

Melody K. Smith

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