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NNU home to first 360 fire camera in Idaho

The camera went online Tuesday at Northwest Nazarene University, and it will help the BLM locate fires faster.

NAMPA — Northwest Nazarene University is the home to the first 360 fire camera in Idaho. It will help detect possible fires in the Valley.

The camera sits on top of the Education, Social Work and Counseling Building. It went online Tuesday.

"It's a remote camera that's used to detect wildland fire," said Dale Hamilton, who is an assistant professor at NNU and spearheaded the project. "You can see a long way."

The Bureau of Land Management is helping to fund the camera. It will help the BLM zero in on a location of a fire in the day or night, using infrared.

"We can tilt it up and down, you can zoom it in, pan out," said Hamilton.

The hope is firefighters would be able to get to the scene quicker, with the help of the technology.

"In California, where they already have some of these cameras up and operational, they can actually see fire trucks from 50 miles away," said Hamilton.

Blake Johanson is a junior at NNU. His goal is to take the fire camera to the next level using artificial intelligence.

"Really, what I'm trying to do is take an AI tool that can basically cut down the work of the person and the AI can watch for smoke and if it sees smoke it would notify somebody," said Johanson.

He just started working on the technology. Johanson says it's a great opportunity for him and other computer science students at NNU. He says working on real problems will help them and our firefighters.