Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hawaii is putting sensors all over the state to catch wildfires, especially after the Lahaina fire that caused a lot of harm

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Governor Josh Green shared on Friday that they’re placing special sensors around Maui and other Hawaiian islands to quickly detect wildfires. These sensors, about 80 of them, will be strategically located across the state. The first batch of 20 sensors in Maui is expected to start working by April 8, as per Lori Moore-Merrell, the US Fire Administrator.

These sensors are smart – they can pick up heat and use artificial intelligence to figure out if something unusual, like smoke or gases from fires, is in the air. Dimitri Kusnezov, the DHS Undersecretary for Science and Technology, explained that the sensors can tell apart fire-related elements from regular things in Hawaii’s air, like volcanic ash or salt from the ocean.

Governor Green made a lighthearted comment, mentioning how people in Hawaii love to barbecue, and the technology has been adjusted accordingly.

The sensors are set up like a string of beads, allowing them to communicate with each other. The first two “strings” will be placed in Haleakala and Lahaina, shared Maui Fire Chief Brad Ventura.

These sensors are powered by solar energy, have a battery that recharges automatically, and use cell data to send a text to fire officials if there’s a problem. The cost is around $10 per acre, and the initial sensors are funded by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology and the US Fire Administration, so the state doesn’t have to pay.

The new sensors are part of the safety measures taken after a deadly fire in Lahaina last August. Governor Green mentioned they’re also adding emergency access roads and evacuation routes not only in Maui but also on Oahu.

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