San Diego County invests in more fire-spotting webcams - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego County invests in more fire-spotting webcams

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – San Diego County is making a major investment in technology to detect wildfires breaking out in the back country.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved spending more than $400,000 to install five more web cameras on local mountain peaks.

One of the five cameras will be mounted at Cowles Mountain to overlook hard-to-get areas during wildfires – a critical tool for firefighters to save homes and lives.

The five new web cameras will bring to the total to 185 cameras mounted across peaks overlooking remote areas. Besides Cowles Mountain, the other locations will be Cuyamaca and North Peaks.

It is clear our major emergencies are coming from wildfires,” said Ron Roberts, San Diego County Supervisor.

The High Performance Wireless Research Education Network program, or HP WREN program is in partnership with UC San Diego, and can be viewed live by the public and firefighters for training.

We have been able to do innovative things such as very high band-width video training of our firefighters, paramedics, which is very difficult to do do fire training,” said Chief Tony Mecham, Cal Fire San Diego.

It is critical our firefighters have the tools and be able to make informed decisions to save property and lives,” said Roberts.

Last fall, SDG&E also launched cameras. According to a spokesperson, during the 2003 devastating wildfires, it would take 24 hours to build a fire line, but now with the cameras, it’s instantaneous.

San Diego County's existing network of more than 60 AlertSoCal stations utilizes more than 180 cameras to provide time-lapse imagery that helps spot fire outbreaks.

Over the past decade, this Board of Supervisors has worked diligently and successfully to improve our region's firefighting capabilities and response.

Since 2003, the County has invested more than $460 million in fire protection, ensuring emergency response teams have the communications systems, infrastructure, and tools necessary to detect fires early and facilitate a quick response.

There are 23 stations with wildfire cameras across the county. You can go online and view them at any time.

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