New alert SDG&E cameras may prove to be a critical fire watch tool for San Diego.
SDG&E unveiled the new tool designed to improve fire detection and protect communities Tuesday, in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego and the University of Nevada, Reno.
The tool was originally created at the Seismology Lab in Reno.
The alert system consists of a set of 15 high-definition cameras that will create a live-stream view of the region's most fire-prone areas, according to SDG&E.
Officials said the camera system will build upon a larger network in the area that is already operating in Lake Tahoe and Nevada. In the past few years, the current system has been credited with the early detection of more than 300 fires in that region.
SDG&E's team of meteorologists and UC San Diego professors have collaborated to study early wildfire detection and worked to improve upon Reno's camera system.
As of now, the state-of-the-art camera system includes live video, time-lapse scenarios, pan-tilt-zoom and near-infrared capabilities for night vision.
The system uses machine vision to detect smoke and can notify fire officials when a plume of smoke rises up, according to SDG&E.
Local firefighters can fully control the cameras so that they can have extra eyes in the field, officials said. They will be able to monitor the conditions in their community day or night.
"Adding this sophisticated set of cameras is providing us with a level of real-time situational awareness we've never had before," said Caroline Winn, SDG&E's chief operating officer, in a statement. "Not only are we able to zoom in on ignition points using multiple cameras, we can pinpoint almost instant fire proximity and notify first responders."
"Having this information at our fingertips could provide critical minutes needed to protect people, power structures, and property," added Winn.
The Alert SDG&E Cameras look out from areas such as Mt. Woodson, Boucher Hill, Otay Mountain, Red Mountain and Lyons Peak, officials said. They are strategically installed on communication towers throughout fire threat zones.
Take a look at the views from the various cameras on SDGE's website.