How AI Protects Australia’s Green Triangle from Bushfires!

In an Australian-first, AI will be deployed to protect commercial plantations from the threat of fire.

Thu 11 Jan 24


Forestry is amongst the industries most impacted by the push towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation.

Now, AI has been deployed in South Australia’s Green Triangle forestry region to monitor bushfires.

As reported by ABC, the South Australian government has engaged Pano AI to build state-of-the-art fire monitoring infrastructure.

Pano AI is a fully managed solution combining cutting-edge technology, artificial intelligence, and simple cloud-based software to provide fire departments with actionable intelligence and situational awareness.

The technology has already been deployed in Queensland and NSW and uses cameras and satellite technology to monitor plantation areas continuously.

The technology was recently featured on Fox Business News—footage courtesy of @panoai5419.

Green Triangle Fire Alliance chair Mike Lawson said early detection of fires was vital to the industry’s future.

“At the moment, we have to go through the process of communicating the fire back, it goes through the emergency services system, and then we’re paged,” he said.

Green Triangle Fire Alliance general manager Anthony Walsh said quick fire detection and response was vital in a region where 25 percent of the land was covered by forestry estates nestled among farms, townships, and natural bushland.

The new system will be deployed to protect the Penola Forest. Earlier this year, the SA Government announced a $2m upgrade to the forest fire towers—footage courtesy of @darrylpeetoz.

The Pano AI system has been implemented for the first time commercially in Australia this fire season and is slated for eight fire towers in South Australia and several more in Victoria.

Mr Walsh said the AI system scanned a 20-kilometre radius for signs of smoke.

“We have two cameras on each location. Each view is about 180 degrees, and those images are stitched together so you have an unimpeded view,” he said.

The system also requires a “human in the loop”, with the AI sometimes struggling to differentiate smoke from clouds or dust.

The industry is fully prepared for the 2022/23 Bushfire Season

As reported by Wood Central, Australian foresters have warned about the upcoming bushfire season, and Lawson said the industry was preparing for dry summers ahead.

In June 2023, ABARES warned of the return of EL Niño weather conditions later this year.

“The Bureau of Meteorology is yet to declare an El Niño, although it’s looking increasingly likely.”

“The fuel load has increased significantly over the past few years because we’ve had relatively benign summers.

“If we do get the El Niño, that will change.”

How it Works

The new system will detect fires through an AI algorithm. 

The detection will then be confirmed by a person who will send an alert to emergency services.

According to CEO and Founder Sonia Kastner, Pano AI “is the first company to offer a fully managed solution that delivers active wildfire detection using artificial intelligence.”

Pano AI aims to accelerate global resilience by developing technology that adapts to climate-related disasters in near-real time.

Pano AI CEO Sonia Kastner holds one of the Pano Station Cameras. (Photo Credit: Supplied by Pano AI)

Arvind Satyam, Pano AI’s COO, was born in Australia before moving to the US.

He said his inspiration for the new technology came from watching Australia’s Black Summer bushfires from 2019 to 2020.

“As we look at fires, large mega-fires, one of the determinants is being able to allocate resources quickly, and we do that by leveraging technology,” he said.

“We use AI that’s applied to ultra-HD cameras that are continuously getting a full panorama of the environment,” he said.

“We then use a smoke detection algorithm to work out exactly where the fire is and see how it’s behaving, so you can quickly get resources to that incident.”

“It also understands where it is relative to structures, to assets so that you can coordinate a much faster response.”

Since 2021, Pano AI has been deployed with utility companies, governments, fire authorities, forestry companies and other private landowners. 

Pano AI operates in five US states (California, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho and Montana) and three Australian states.

“We’re proud of the progress over the last two years; we’re now monitoring 4.5 million acres and had over 1,000 detections this year,” Ms Kastner said.

The technology will be deployed to protect a $680m Industry

The forestry industry in the southeast region contributes around $680 million to the South Australian economy each year.

Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven said the technology was an “important step forward” for the region’s safety.

“This is doing an important job improving our fire detection capability and protecting things such as our … forestry assets and the communities that support them.”


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    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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