FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va (ABC7) — From California to Australia. You’ve likely seen the familiar scenes of fires burning out of control and causing hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. That destruction led 16-year-old Neil Suri of Oakton, Virginia to innovation. For the past year the Oakton High School junior has been developing a forest fire detection tool. "It’s a camera-based approach to fire detection. On the FireWatch device there are four cameras on the camera hook and these four cameras allow the device to have 360-degree coverage," he said. According to Suri, 13 of the FireWatch devices are installed near Virginia’s Shenandoah National Forest and monitor 600,000 acres. "In early March I was able to detect a real fire which has been a high point," Suri said. The low-cost monitoring system won the First Place Grand Prize at the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair. "It’s definitely inspiring me to continue my work in this area," he said. Suri has also raised $35,000 for research development. Over the next two years he would like to have devices installed on the west coast and overseas.


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