ALERTCalifornia: Using AI to Stay Ahead of Wildfires and Other Disasters

With the shared goal of improving firefighting capabilities and response times, CAL FIRE and UCSD’s ALERTCalifornia has launched an innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) implementation trial. In keeping with the Task Force’s commitment to cross agency partnership and community protection, this collaborative public safety program aims to provide the tools to prepare for, respond to and recover from wildfires and other natural hazards. ALERTCalifornia has deployed a 24-hour surveillance network of 1,032 high-definition, pan-tilt-zoom cameras for efficient monitoring of active wildfires and other disasters. The pilot program enlists AI to identify abnormalities in the camera feeds and promptly notify emergency command centers.

ALERTCalifornia’s field teams continue to erect new cameras to enhance coverage across the state as California endures more frequent natural disasters. Since the start of 2023, new cameras have been installed in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Madera counties.

“The program will spawn invaluable research and mitigation plans that will increase the state’s resiliency towards the new extreme fire risk,” said Neal Driscoll, director of ALERTCalifornia and geoscientist at UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography.