Cal Water news release

New Technology Installed for Early Wildfire Detection

Images from the Los Altos fire-detecting cameraTo support local fire departments in their life-saving efforts, Cal Water’s Los Altos District recently partnered with a company called Pano.AI to install a device that provides 360-degree hilltop imagery and generates automatic calls in the event of budding wildfires. The Pano.AI camera was installed on top of a water station in the Los Altos Hills.

To obtain that real-time imagery, the camera rotates 360 degrees every minute, capturing images that cover the entire field of view. The images are then stitched together into a 360-degree panorama, providing multiple users the ability to simultaneously pan, zoom, and play time-lapses in different directions. The device is also equipped with automated smoke detection, which is capable of identifying 95% of smoke plumes within 15 minutes, according to Pano.AI. Once smoke is detected, artificial intelligence is used to launch calls to Cal Water officials and local fire departments.

“As a water utility, we have a longstanding commitment to support first responders,” Los Altos District Manager Dawn Smithson. “This early warning system uses artificial intelligence to alert firefighters quickly, before an incident gets out of control.”