New weapon detects bushfires in minutes

The Sunshine Coast faces one of its most threatening fire seasons but now has a world-leading tool to help safeguard people, properties, and our natural assets.

This AI-assisted, bushfire detection program analyses satellite images and on-ground cameras to swiftly spot heat and smoke.

Image supplied by exci.

The Sunshine Coast faces one of its most threatening fire seasons but now has a world-leading tool to help safeguard people, properties, and our natural assets.

Developed by local company exci (formerly Fireball International), this AI-assisted program analyses satellite images and on-ground cameras to swiftly spot heat and smoke.

exci, which means “alarm’’ in Latin, already has been used to great effect in wildfire-ravaged California.

Once a fire is detected, emergency services and Council will receive immediate reports and can consider an appropriate response in consultation with our partner agencies.

Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) Chair and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the announcement for this life-saving technology that will benefit and help protect our region.

Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) Chair and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson, is shown how the bushfire detection system works by exci's Julian Thaller.

Mayor Jamieson made the announcement today (Monday 9 October), as he helped launch Get Ready Queensland Week which runs from October 9 to 16.

This encourages residents to know their risk, prepare emergency plans and pack an emergency kit.

While previous seasons have focused on storms and flood risks, the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting this one to bring heatwaves and threat of severe bushfires due to the El Niño weather pattern.

Mayor Jamieson said the roll-out of the bushfire detection system in our region was the result of a collaboration between QFES, HQ Plantations, Powerlink as well as Sunshine Coast based businesses exci and Landwatch Australia.

“Council’s primary focus is to ensure the safety of our communities and exci’s sophisticated system will help us rapidly respond to bushfire threats,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The swift arrival of our firefighters can be the difference between an easily contained minor incident, and a major bushfire that can lead to extensive destruction.”

Smoke alarm for the bush

exci’s Managing Director Christopher Tylor said he was extremely pleased to deliver an Australian made and owned fire detection system for the Sunshine Coast.

“The exci system can automatically detect bushfires within minutes, using satellite and ground-based sensor data analysed by powerful, machine-learning algorithms.” 

Mr Tylor said exci would collaborate with Landwatch Australia, a family-owned business located in Palmwoods, known for delivering remote, camera surveillance solutions to Australian farmers and rural communities.

“Their expertise in crafting rugged terrain-specific camera systems aligns with our wildfire detection technology, making them the ideal hardware partner for us.

Fire detection cameras being installed at new locations.

“exci and Landwatch Australia have begun installing cameras at new sites located at Gerrards Lookout at Maleny, Dulong Lookout and Mount Coolum,” Mr Tylor said.

“Like us, they have a passion for making Australia a safer place to live.”

Sunshine Coast Council is committed to working with Disaster and Emergency Services to deliver a coordinated approach to disaster management and community support.

Being prepared is everyone’s responsibility and the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, business, and community, is to “Get Ready” this October for weather events and emergencies.

There are a few simple steps people can take to help safeguard their family, home and business.

For a full list head to getready.qld.gov.au.

For the latest updates, practical resources and what to do before, during and after an emergency, visit disasterhub.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.

 
 

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Sunshine Coast Council acknowledges the Sunshine Coast Country, home of the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples, the Traditional Custodians, whose lands and waters we all now share. We wish to pay respect to their Elders – past, present and emerging, and acknowledge the important role First Nations people continue to play within the Sunshine Coast community.

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