SRP testing 'SmokeD,' early detection wildfire system and cameras

Posted at 8:06 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 23:06:44-04

The Salt River Project is currently testing a fire and smoke detection system called "SmokeD," using state-of-the-art cameras that act as an early warning system, detecting wildfires that may form in the Arizona wilderness.

Testing is being done at the SRP East Valley Service Center in Mesa. The solar-powered infrared cameras will be mounted on transmission line towers dozens of feet above the ground, capturing any visible signs of a nearby fire.

Floyd Hardin, the Fire Management Officer for SRP, says the cameras will be able to report changes, learn about the surrounding environment and provide alerts to forest and fire agencies using artificial intelligence. The cameras are also an important tool to protect the state's water supply.

"What happens up north is impactful to the water down here. That's always a big issue, so that was a driving factor for wanting to move forward [with the cameras]," Hardin said.

The cameras will scan the horizon up to 10 miles away with a 360º view as well. It's the first system of its kind in the state.

"This is just another tool in the toolbox for us. Other companies are doing it but this is going to be the first one where it's mounted on a utility structure," Hardin said.

SRP plans on installing twelve SmokeD cameras in the Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests later this summer.