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Wildfire Spotting Goes High Tech: Can Silicon Valley Save Northern California?

By San Francisco Chronicle

September 2, 2020

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High-technology implementations in Northern California are making fire spotters and firefighters more adaptive to changing conditions while improving their safety.

The technology is also democratizing fire-spotting, enabling anyone to go online to view satellite and camera imagery, while interactive maps visualize fire locations.

The AlertWildfire.org system is a network of roughly 550 cameras in California, which capture a still image every second to generate time-lapse videos, and use near-infrared technology for nighttime viewing.

The network lets authorized personnel rotate, pan and zoom, and focus on suspicious smoke plumes; advanced satellite systems also provide finer spatial resolution and data processing.

Pacific Gas & Electric's Scott Strenfel said, "We can use this information to understand where fires are spreading, where they're most active, and to get rapid alerts for wildfires."

From San Francisco Chronicle
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