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By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  HPWREN images of Chariot Fire in 2013

January 23, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Five more cameras will soon be positioned atop mountains in East County to help spot wildfires and help firefighters douse flames early to prevent firestorms.  Supervisors on Tuesday approved funds to expand the UCSD Scripps Institute’s High-Performance Wireless Research and Education Network, or HPWREN.

The new cameras are slated to be installed on Cowles Mountain as well as Cuyamaca, North Peak, Sierra Rojo and White Star peaks over the next year. 

Currently there are 180 cameras and 60 HPWREN/AlertSoCal stations with still as well as time-lapse, high-definition images.

Tony Mecham, County Fire and Cal Fire Chief, told supervisors that similar webcams helped firefighters respond quickly during the Lilac Fire and have also prevented dispatching multiple units for minor incidents. 

Money for the new cameras will be allocated from a trust fund set up after the 2003 Cedar Fire to enhance fire protection. You can view images from the existing webcams here:

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Rural residents need the protection and warnings the cameras will provide. The cameras also provide spectacular images of the east county. The camera that was above Cuyamaca Lake was a favorite.