As wildfires become more common and more deadly in California, firefighters are exploring new technological means to get an advantage over them, so that they can be controlled quicker.

This summer, fire department officials from the Bay Area’s Contra Costa County intentionally set four test fires of their own this summer, with each fire surrounded by a set of field sensors capable of measuring temperature and humidity. When the initial ignition was detected, the sensors relayed the location of the blaze to a remote dashboard created by Zonehaven, a cloud-based analytics application that incorporates current weather conditions to devise a simulation of how quickly the fire would spread over the next five to 10 hours, and, if left unstopped, what nearby areas would be most at risk.

The application is then capable of sending out an immediate alert about an ignition situation to firefighters and local governments—anyone who needs instant information to start battling the blaze and plan evacuations.

The sensors aren’t the only technological applications that firefighters are testing for fire prevention and evacuation. From using drones and infrared satellite imagery to training AI to spot smoke signatures on satellite maps, it seems the future of firefighting will be one that relies heavily on new technology.

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