Australasia's home for timber news and information

Friday analysis: AI’s smarts keeps us and our forests safe

To say that the money spent on the Green Triangle’s network of smoke detection cameras was well spent is an understatement.

That at least 33 fire events were averted in the most recent fire season is nothing short of amazing.

The system also positively identified 24 planned fuel reduction burns for a total of 57 detections for the season as well as the detection of thousands of private permit burns late in the season.

This meant fire brigades were not sent on time consuming wild goose chases.

The Pano AI system was installed in south-east South Australia as part of the South Australian Government’s $2.346 million upgrade of the region’s fire tower network, with $1 million targeting the new technology. The program also received significant support and funding from forest industries.

Spanning 14 locations – seven in the South East and seven in Western Victoria – Pano AI offers a comprehensive turnkey solution that integrates high-definition cameras, satellite feeds, artificial intelligence, and modern cloud software to detect and pinpoint new ignitions and alert fire professionals within minutes.

The key to keeping fires small and limiting the impact on industry and the community is through rapid response and the world-leading actionable intelligence helps fire crews get to the scene faster and safer.

“South Australia’s $1.4 billion forest industry has had a long and strong history of embracing cutting-edge technology and the implementation of Pano’s AI fire detection system continues this proud legacy,” South Australian Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Development and Forestry, Clare Scriven said last year.

“Unfortunately, fire doesn’t recognise boundaries so this collaborative State Government/industry initiative in utilising this ground-breaking technology helps us to ensure the best fire management tools are at our disposal. This is a system that isn’t just for the benefit of the Green Triangle forest region but is a win-win for all other landscape users, primary producers and local communities,” she said.

Of course, the Minister is dead right.

And it’s the sort of technology that needs to be rolled out across the country.

It’s relatively cheap, and will get cheaper, and it will in the long run save money, time, jobs, and most importantly, lives.