AlertWildfire Moutaintop Camera System

Cameras play crucial role in early detection

AlertWildfire Moutaintop Camera System

Cameras play crucial role in early detection

VO:

In our day-to -day lives things are not

always what they seem. With increasing

 

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temperatures drought and human activity

one small spark and all is lost . Every

 

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year wildfires destroy millions of acres.

In fire prone areas people report that

 

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they do not receive emergency warnings

in time. Without an alert warning system

 

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in place we lose the opportunity to save

lives.

 

Graham Kent:

ALERT Wildfire which is really in a

sense of virtual fire tower or a fire

 

Graham Kent:

lookout tower of the 21st century not

only develop at the University of Nevada,

 

Graham Kent:

Reno, but by seismologists. We already

have built microwave networks to bring

 

Graham Kent:

back seismic data in real time, and so

what we did is add fire cameras to our system.

 

Graham Kent:

And then developed a software package

that allows firefighters to essentially

 

Graham Kent:

hunt for fires and confirm them. If we

go back 50, 60 years there were just

 

Graham Kent:

hundreds of man fire towers throughout

the West actually 500 in California

 

Graham Kent:

alone. And at that time wildfire behavior

wasn't that extreme. And yet we fast

 

Graham Kent:

forward some 50, 60, 70 years and most of

those lookout towers are abandoned. And

 

Graham Kent:

so in a sense we've kind of taken new

technology and reinvented what we did

 

Graham Kent:

before, but in this case we have near

infrared vision time-lapse. And we don't

 

Graham Kent:

have to have people out in many cases dangerous situations. We can monitor it safely from afar.

 

Ryan Sommers:

ALERT Wildfire system is a good system

 

Ryan Sommers:

because it gives first responders in

wildland fire fighters the advantage of

 

Ryan Sommers:

a size up of a smoke column or the fire

before we arrive and especially the

 

Ryan Sommers:

dispatch centers. They can bring the

smoke column into the camera's view and

 

Ryan Sommers:

they can make appropriate adjustments to

the response level with a little bit

 

Ryan Sommers:

more intelligence and a little bit more

visual aid versus just receiving and

 

Ryan Sommers:

talking to somebody on the phone. It's a

little more reassuring to me on a

 

Ryan Sommers:

personal level

and on a company level if you will to be

 

Ryan Sommers:

able to look at these fires in the

camera. I then can see the risk that's at

 

Ryan Sommers:

stake for our personnel and our

equipment I can see the fire behavior I

 

Ryan Sommers:

can kind of judge and tell how many days

they'll be committed. I personally use it

 

Ryan Sommers:

all the time. As soon as I hear of what we

call an initial attack dispatch. I go to

 

Ryan Sommers:

the site just to look at it and to

to see if North Lake Tahoe Fire can gear up

 

Ryan Sommers:

and help our partners suppressing

that fire and mitigating that potentially disaster.

 

Graham Kent:

ALERT Wildfire is a

consortium of three Universities

 

Graham Kent:

Nevada UC San Diego, and the University of

Oregon.

 

Sara Meyer:

My name is Sara Meyer and I'm

 

Sara Meyer:

from University of Oregon. I started

working at University of Oregon with

 

Sara Meyer:

Doug Toomey a couple years ago to work on

ALERT Wildfire. And so my role as the

 

Sara Meyer:

field technician is to install these

sites and then also to maintain them

 

Sara Meyer:

once they're installed. We install the

microwave dishes that look at the other

 

Sara Meyer:

sites that we have in the area and, so we

use two-way communication to be able to

 

Sara Meyer:

get our camera data from site to site.

And then deliver to the internet which

 

Sara Meyer:

gets to our lab. So part of my job here

is to put those dishes together and

 

Sara Meyer:

install them and then make sure they're

aligned properly so that we have great

 

Sara Meyer:

communication between our sites. A couple

years ago in the Tubbs fire. My

 

Sara Meyer:

mother-in-law had to evacuate in the

middle of the night. And so I directly

 

Sara Meyer:

see how the communities are affected by

wildfire and how that's been affected by

 

Sara Meyer:

the droughts that we've had and we've

had an increase in wildfires in the area.

 

Sara Meyer:

So we're hoping that this work can

actually help communities to be better

 

Sara Meyer:

prepared and to actually know what to do

better to respond to fires when they happen.

 

Colby Nicholson:

My name is Colby Nicholson. I'm a

student at UCSD studying geology and

 

Colby Nicholson:

I've been working with the ALERT Wildfire

camera systems for about two years now.

 

Colby Nicholson:

My work with ALERT Wildfire cameras consists of climbing towers installing antennas and

 

Colby Nicholson:

assessing each tower as we come to it. We have many different kinds of sites that

 

Colby Nicholson:

we have to adjust our strategies to fit.

 

Kent Straley:

My name is Kent Straley, I'm with the

 

Kent Straley:

University of Nevada, Reno. My role is pretty much as a

 

Kent Straley:

technician. We help plan everything from

the beginning stages as far as what

 

Kent Straley:

equipment goes out and specifically

where it's gonna be. And then we pretty

 

Kent Straley:

much start the build-out from there.

 

Graham Kent:

We're using existing infrastructure on mountaintops.

 

Graham Kent:

This allows us not only to

get out cameras much more quickly but

 

Graham Kent:

saves a lot of money. Sometimes folks ask

that what does it cost to put a camera

 

Graham Kent:

and that's kind of a what-if situation.

So if we're using an existing

 

Graham Kent:

infrastructure

it can be a little as ten thousand

 

Graham Kent:

dollars or less to get that camera up. If we have to build it ourselves it can be as

 

Graham Kent:

much as fifty sixty thousand dollar. So

obviously we like to use a lot of the

 

Graham Kent:

former and less of the latter,  but

sometimes we have a mountaintop where we

 

Graham Kent:

just need to put a camera on top. Such as

the Pepperwood preserve and we'll go

 

Graham Kent:

that that long distance to make it

happen.

 

Graham Kent:

Many people ask me what's the most

significant thing that you've learned

 

Graham Kent:

from doing ALERT Wildfire. Or something that

has affected you the most. And there's no

 

Graham Kent:

doubt hands down it was coming to Coffey park.

 

Graham Kent:

and to see a neighborhood devastated that's a mile by a mile

 

Graham Kent:

well over a thousand homes leveled to the  ground.

 

Graham Kent:

You know it hits you in the gut.

 

Graham Kent:

And that really provides motivation for

not only me but our entire group of

 

Graham Kent:

three universities to get these cameras

out quickly. So we can hopefully prevent

 

Graham Kent:

the next Tubbs fire and the next

Coffey park.

 

Graham Kent:

What we're really trying to do is apply the San Diego County model.

 

Graham Kent:

throughout the western US. That's fire modeling

 

Graham Kent:

before an event up to ten

days. To understand what really is the

 

Graham Kent:

potential outgrowth or hazard of that

let's say Santa Ana. Then what we do is

 

Graham Kent:

we deploy assets both air and ground

assets and then we use the cameras to

 

Graham Kent:

back them up really confirmation or

discovery. If we can do that ballet and

 

Graham Kent:

get everything to work together then we

have a really good chance of knocking

 

Graham Kent:

down the fires early.

 

Graham Kent:

ALERT Wildfire

started in Lake Tahoe and it was called ALERT Tahoe.

 

Graham Kent:

We're at DL Bliss State Park and

we're putting up the last camera in the

 

Graham Kent:

ALERT Tahoe Network. It's the 11th of 11

plan. One of that kind of subtle

 

Graham Kent:

nature's of this camera here at DL Bliss State Park. Is it really completes our

 

Graham Kent:

microwave network and will provide a lot

extra resiliency to our camera network.

 

Graham Kent:

And we want to give credit to Heidi Hill

Drum in the Tahoe Prosperity Center.

 

Graham Kent:

This eleven camera build out, and really the first chunk of what would become ALERT Wildfire.

 

Graham Kent:

Wouldn't happen without the Tahoe Prosperity Center in Heidi's efforts.

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

So what we did is we brought together the

community to fundraise for the equipment

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

the labor and all of the things

associated with putting these cameras in.

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

And then the University of Nevada, Reno

did all of the hard work of actually

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

installing it and the science and

everything in the technology behind it.

 

Ryan Sommers:

They can look that they can see there's

no smoke they can then adjust that

 

Ryan Sommers:

response level based off of no smoke in

the air

 

Ryan Sommers:

and we don't have to launch the aircraft

which saves taxpayers dollars.

 

Graham Kent:

What we really see in terms of climate change

and impacting fire. Is for example having

 

Graham Kent:

no rain during the summer and late into

the fall, so when we get the winds in the fall.

 

Graham Kent:

The zephyrs here in Lake Tahoe they

can have a really damaging effect

 

Graham Kent:

if we have a fire take off on us

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

So climate change is absolutely a factor.

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

We're seeing bigger fires we're seeing more severe fires and these cameras are

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

helping to protect our community in our

forests. I've lived here in Lake Tahoe

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

for 25 years so I've seen the forest

change over the years and it is much

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

drier and much more at risk of wildfire

now then it used to be.

 

Graham Kent:

These windows the number of days where you can have that

bad fire might have been once every

 

Graham Kent:

couple of years and now we're having

them maybe once a month. The whole

 

Graham Kent:

climate change saying is not just like

oh it's a little bit warmer but there

 

Graham Kent:

are these windows that open and close

and there's a lot more of them so I

 

Graham Kent:

think that's what people need to take

from the climate message.

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

These cameras have helped stop 56 fires in the Tahoe

Basin. So they give our firefighters the

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

early intelligence and information that

they need to know exactly where to go to

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

stop and put the fires out before they

reach one acre in size. Which is a

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

tremendous benefit because it reduces

the chance that that wildfire is going

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

to get out of control. If you want to get

involved and you want to help protect

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

your community you can go on ALERT

Wildfire.org and you can look at the map

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

and you can pick the state you live in.

You can pick the community that you live

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

in and you can look at the cameras that

are in your area and you can be a fire

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

watcher. And you can help the

firefighters and the local authorities

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

if you see smoke on any of those cameras.

So it's an easy thing to do.

 

Heidi Hill Drum:

The community can get involved and you can

help protect your family and your community from a devastating wildfire.

 

Graham Kent:

Now it's you the citizens that have to

 

Graham Kent:

help out and help us spot the fires be

sure you understand your situational

 

Graham Kent:

awareness you know how to use ALERT

Wildfire if we can put that all together

 

Graham Kent:

we can knock down a lot of fires and

those we can't we can get people out of

 

Graham Kent:

the way in a timely fashion and

hopefully save lives.

 

Ryan Sommers:

Once we're notified or once our dispatch

center picks up that 911 our resources

 

Ryan Sommers:

have to be in service within 90 seconds.

It's very important for the community to

 

Ryan Sommers:

become fire - spotters and utilize the

ALERT Wildfire system. Because the more eyes

 

Ryan Sommers:

that we have viewing these cameras. The

better off we are, for not only the fire department

 

Ryan Sommers:

and the safety of our personnel

but the lives in the property that were

 

Ryan Sommers:

responding to protect.

 

 

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