A Pano AI camera.
A Pano AI camera. Credit: Pano AI via Facebook

WHITE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST, Colorado – A small wildfire, sparked by an abandoned campfire, was quickly contained and extinguished this past weekend, just above Breckenridge’s Wellington Neighborhood. While quick action from Red, White & Blue Fire Protection DistrictSummit Fire & EMS, and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office deserves most of the praise in this moment, a new AI-powered camera is getting some credit as well.

According to CBS News, a Pano AI camera, financially supported by Xcel Energy, sits atop a cellphone tower with a 360 degree view. When it detects smoke, it’s able to notify firefighting crews in the area, allowing for a quick response and, if two cameras are close together, a very accurate triangulated location.

We know we are going to get some false alarms, it’s shown us campfires, totally legal campfire. It’s learning Summit County and that’s part of the progress, but when we can get a location, an actual lat/long and drive straight through it instead of going through the process of finding, which often time with wildfires can take an hour, just trying to figure out a location and access and figure out all the stuff and then get the troops there…it means a lot.” – Mathew Benedict of Red White and Blue Fire

Xcel Energy currently has 28 Pano AI cameras installed, but their hoping for a total of 42 to be up across the state by the end of 2024. In total, the state has 40 installed, with 20 more expected by the fall. With 10 miles of vision on a clear day and the triangulation capability, AI could make detected and fighting wildfires a whole lot easier.

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