This Ingenious Bot Tweets California Fires in Real-time.
San Diego, Ca July 5, 2021
Bennett Kedrosky, a senior at The Francis Parker School, was on vacation with his family in Mammoth last fall while the Creek Fire raged nearby in Fresno and Madera Counties. Kedrosky said ashes fell from the sky and smoke made the air quality so poor it was unhealthy for Kedrosky and his family to go outside.
The experience left an enormous impact on the San Diego teen and gave him the burning desire to do something to help. So he began researching wildfires. That's when the idea for his Cal Fire Bot was born. It's a bot that tweets about California wildfires whenever one is reported to the fire department.
During his research, Kedrosky discovered that motorists and police officers are typically the first people to spot wildfires. Then, they report their sightings to the fire department. So Kedrosky's designed his bot to tweet details about wildfire calls throughout the state – in real-time. That way, residents know when a fire gets reported to the fire department in their area, which gives them more time to prepare. “They’ll see, ‘oh this is my area, I should react’ and that way they can take action, and respond accordingly, and stay safe,” added Kedrosky. “I wanted the bot to be more public and more accessible, I think the way that it reacts information and how it quickly it can, people can really benefit from it,”
Since the CHP handles many calls and several types of fires, Kedrosky's goal was to have his bot focus only on wildfires calls. The programming only took him a few days, and the enthusiastic teen declared, "It’s really satisfying when you are struggling for a little while and then it just works and you love it,”
Kedrosky's Cal Fire Bot has only been live a few days. But, his ingenious brainchild could become an essential tool as we enter into the dog days of summer during high fire season – and amid a draught. In the last 24 hours alone, the bot has sent out approximately 100 tweets warning about California fires. “My bot cuts to the source and takes information from CHP and that information is being relayed much quicker,” mentioned Kedrosky.
You can follow CalFire Bot on Twitter and set an alert to get a notification every time a fire is reported in your area.
Fortunately, most of the fires the @CalFireBot tweets about won't go on to scorch more than 379,000 acres like the Creek Fire. But for those of us who call this tinder box, home the earlier we know about a possible fire, the better we'll all sleep at night.
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