If this thing works as advertised, it could be a lifesaver for Sonoma County residents. Torch is a cutting-edge fire detection system developed to help protect properties and the environment from the devastating effects of wildfires. Torch’s innovative approach combines multiple sensors in a single solar-powered device, offering early fire detection and a potential solution to the growing wildfire crisis.

The idea for Torch emerged following the tragic 2017 wildfires, which caused immense destruction to communities and had lasting environmental consequences. Witnessing the devastation, Vasily Tremsin (now Torch’s COO) realized the need for a mainstream solution to detect outdoor fires quickly and accurately. This realization led to Torch’s innovative concept: combining multiple sensors in a single solar-powered device for early outdoor fire recognition. Vasily’s idea received the top award at Intel’s International Science Fair, where judges encouraged him to turn his project into a practical fire detection product to help address the fire crisis.

As the climate crisis intensifies and forest fires release around 6.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, Torch’s objective is to offer an affordable, distributed approach to outdoor fire detection. If widely adopted, Torch could reduce the number and severity of outdoor fires, contributing to a safer and healthier environment.

The Torch system aims to provide accurate fire detection using advanced sensor technology while being eco-friendly and capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions. The design incorporates solar panels, infrared cameras, gas sensors, and visual cameras to detect thermal, visual, and chemical signs of fire. The devices are intended to be placed every 10 acres and require minimal maintenance, utilizing radio signals to communicate locally and create a mesh network for faster and more reliable detection than human observation.

The Torch app, designed to work with the detection system, allows users to manage properties, add unlimited devices and users, and receive neighborhood alerts. Furthermore, the app provides official red-flag weather warnings from governmental agencies and local weather stations, helping users stay informed and take appropriate action in case of a fire on their property.

The founders are working diligently to make their vision a reality. If Torch proves as effective as intended, it could become a valuable tool in the battle against wildfires.

Roger Coryell, Sonoma County Gazette