To adapt to the effects of changing climate and threat of year-round wildfires, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is partnering with academia, government, and public safety professionals to innovate and implement more advanced technologies designed to further improve wildfire safety in the region. Initial innovations include maximizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve situational awareness, a new vegetation risk index, and satellite enabled wildfire alerts.
The SDG&E plans to open a Fire Science and Innovation Lab next year. The laboratory will bring together leading thinkers and problem solvers in academia, government, and the community to create forward-looking solutions to help prevent ignitions, mitigate the impacts of fires, and ultimately help build a more resilient region. With this laboratory, the company aims to lead the development of the next generation of fire science and wildfire innovation.
The SDG&E’s deployment of the most highly concentrated network of weather stations and high definition cameras in the country (Fire Safe 1.0), and the initial weather and fire models based on years of granular data (Fire Safe 2.0), lay the foundation for this next generation of innovations.
"The SDG&E is proud to announce the new innovations associated with Fire Safe 3.0 and continue our collaboration with other regional leaders to improve community safety," said Scott Drury, president of the SDG&E. "These advances, and the Fire Science and Innovation Lab opening next year reinforce our region’s leadership position in managing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. Most importantly, they make our communities safer."
Additional advancements announced recently include:
- AI: AI-based predictive models will help increase accuracy of weather forecasts, which in turn will help prevent powerline-caused wildfires and allow the company to further mitigate impacts to customers.
- Vegetation risk index: The SDG&E is analyzing data from hundreds of thousands of trees, historical power outages, and historical weather data to help prevent tree-related outages and tree-related ignitions before they ever happen, reducing the risk of wildfires.
- Satellites wildfire alerts: The SDG&E is establishing the capability to identify and track wildfire activity from satellites in space, validating more precise wildfire location to help increase the safety of the electric infrastructure.
- High-speed weather data: The SDG&E’s weather stations network is being rebuilt, enabling the capability to provide reads on temperature, humidity, and wind every 30 sec, instead of every 10 min. This increase facilitates more precise, data-driven decision making to keep communities safe.
- Wildfire Safety Community Advisory Council: A new Wildfire Safety Community Advisory Council has been formed with a group of diverse local leaders from public safety, tribal government, business, nonprofit, and academic organizations. The council will provide feedback and recommendations on how the SDG&E can continue to help protect the region from wildfires.