By Miriam Raftery
October 28, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – FireSight, a new project funded by the San Diego Board of Supervisors with a $36,000 grant, provides approximately 50 webcams which began broadcasting images of remote backcountry regions and other areas throughout San Diego on Wednesday—just in time for the seventh anniversary of the deadly Cedar wildfire. The public can view the sites at any time via this link: http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras.
“Wildfires are a constant threat in these areas, so every bit of information we can get in real time, as it's happening, will allow us to react more quickly and accurately, because we'll be able to see the situation with our own eyes," said Cal Fire chief Howard Windsor. "The FireSight project is adding a substantial number of cameras on the HPWREN network. The cameras are in regular use by the CAL FIRE Emergency Command Center, and our situational awareness goal is to have quick insight into the location and scope of a fire anywhere in San Diego County."
The FireSight system grew out of discussions between Calit2 and San Diego County about ways to use technology to combat wildfires.
Although cameras are not monitored full-time, they can be checked quickly when a fire is reported and can also be monitored closely during high-risk fire conditions. Recently, the cameras were utilized during the Cowboy Fire between Campo and Potrero, when Cal Fire requested that HPWREN connect its camera network to the Incident Command Post.
Newly added cameras augment existing ones for the system, which now includes Mt. Woodson, Mesa Grande, Mt. Laguna, Lyon’s Peak, Red Mountain near Fallbrook, areas near North Peak, Cabrillo National Monument, the La Jolla Coast, Castro Peak, the Santa Margarita River, Toro Peak West, Palomar Observatory, Ramona, California Wolf Center, and more.
In addition to the cameras, FireSight will add more weather instruments to augment the existing HPWREN "fire conditions" pager alert system. The sensors measure wind speed and direction, precipitation, barometric pressure, temperatures and relative humidity.