Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hawaii is putting sensors all over the state to find wildfires after the bad Lahaina fire

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Governor Josh Green shared on Friday that they’re putting special sensors all over Maui and other Hawaiian islands to quickly notice when there might be a wildfire. They plan to have about 80 of these sensors placed strategically across the state, with the first 20 on Maui becoming active by April 8.

These sensors are smart – they can feel heat and use artificial intelligence to figure out if there’s something unusual, like smoke or gases from fires. They’re trained to tell the difference between normal things in Hawaii’s air, like volcanic ash and salt from the ocean. The guy in charge of this, Dimitri Kusnezov, mentioned that since people in Hawaii love to barbecue, he’s made sure the technology works just right for them.

The sensors are set up like a team, so they can “talk” to each other. The first two teams will be placed in Haleakala and Lahaina. Each sensor has a special battery that charges itself using sunlight and uses cell data to send a text to firefighters if there’s a problem.

It costs around $10 for each acre, and the money for the first batch of sensors is coming from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology, and the US Fire Administration. The state doesn’t have to pay for it.

After a bad fire in Lahaina last August that killed 101 people, they’re also making other changes. They’re adding new emergency roads in Lahaina to make it safer, and they’re doing the same on Oahu, creating more ways for people to get out quickly if they need to. Governor Green wants to rebuild Lahaina and make sure everyone is safer in case of emergencies.

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