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Bracing for the Burn | SDG&E alert cams that help spot fires in the back country

"Fires double every 45 seconds in windy dry conditions. Time is eminent to get on these fires, we want to be there small," developer Neal Driscoll said.

SAN DIEGO — Wildfire season is year-round in California and is one of the most devastating. That is why Alert California is so important when it comes to getting ahead of wildfires before they explode.

With cameras statewide, Alert California partners can spot a fire before it's out of control. 

Neal Driscoll is a Professor of Geology and Geophysics at UCSD, he along with his 30-plus member team has made the equipment for Alert California happen.

"We have 1,032 cameras out there so, now we're able to make our network perfect. We want to confirm ignition right away so we can fight the fire in the incipient phase. We can have dispatchers have eyes on the fire, and scale resources up or down," Driscoll said.

"Fires double every 45 seconds in windy dry conditions. Time is eminent to get on these fires, we want to be there small," Driscoll continued.

The equipment that makes this possible is built by Driscoll's team at UCSD.

"Our engineers have built these boxes, they're weather-proof, it sits out in the field, and were able to monitor conditions. We can constantly interact with the box," Driscoll said.

The monitoring stations are placed on high points across the state and have a visibility range of 70 miles during the day and 120 plus at night.

"We have over 150 neighbors that work with us, we've built a village, and Alert California would like the Citizen Scientists to join in,"  Driscoll said.

Neal said the more eyes on fire the safer we all are. They are also using artificial intelligence to help.

"We're very cognizant of privacy, so we block out any structure, so you don't have to worry about privacy," Driscoll said. 

If you do spot something, sharing what you're looking at is as easy as sending a text.

"I can copy the URL and send it to you and you're looking at the same cameras during an incident,"  Driscoll demonstrated.

Neal Driscoll believes that the sharing platform of Alert California will make our state safer.

"This is bigger than any one of us, we're in an extreme climate. It's not going away; we really need to buckle down and work together,"  Driscoll said. 

To be part of the Team keeping an eye out for Wildfires, click here.

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