San Diego fighting fires with new tools and technology - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego fighting fires with new tools and technology

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — As we watch the devastating effects of multiple wildfires burning in California from Napa to Orange County, we've seen lives lost and homes destroyed. 

Many are wondering, what about San Diego County? 

Are we ready? And what can you do to make sure you are prepared? 

Meteorologist Brian D'Agostino from SDG&E and San Diego Fire Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy stopped by Morning Extra to answer those questions and showcase new tools and technology the agencies are using to fight fires.  

Because time is critical in firefighting, these experts say new tools and technology that provide information ahead of a fire help them put staff in place in a timely manner.  

This helps to extinguish a fire before it grows.  

One technology using computer images is the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index (SAWTI), shared daily with the US Forest Service.   

SDG&E recently provided information to them showing that there was a high propensity of fire in the Anaheim area prior to fires starting there.  

The SAWTI classifies fire danger into four levels, similar to hurricane-strength categories. Experts say this is critical information for firefighters. 

Another tool, the Fire Potential Index measures humidity, temperature, and wind, and is analyzed by an SDG&E meteorologist then provided daily to all fire departments in the region stating the potential of a fire.   

Fire agencies determine their staffing based on this information. 

The Aircrane is a critical firefighting asset that can hold 2,650 gallons of water or fire retardant, fills in 45 seconds and is in the air within 15 minutes. This tool stays in the region during fire season.                                                                  

A new tool accessible to San Diego Fire-Rescue is the King Air, a plane that flies at 17,000 feet, using the same technology the military uses – infrared sensors - that can see through smoke to tell firefighters where the flames are, where people should be evacuated, and where firefighters are to keep them out of harm's way if a fire were to shift.  

The experts message to San Diegans is to put together an emergency plan if you haven't already. If a wildfire occurs, they say to heed notifications to evacuate immediately. They say: life is more important than property.  

For more information on these tools and more ways to stay safe from wildfire visit  

Other websites with helpful information can be found below:   

Ready, Set, Go fire action guide 

SDG&E’s emergency preparedness webpage 

Wildfire Checklist - English & Spanish

Be Red Cross Ready  

Fire Evacuation Checklist 


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