SDG&E installs 15 cameras to improve fire detection

SAN DIEGO – San Diego Gas & Electric Tuesday unveiled a system of 15 high-definition cameras that provide live-streaming views of some of the region’s most fire-prone areas.

The Alert SDG&E cameras offer live video; can show time-lapse scenarios; can pan, tilt and zoom; provide near-infrared capabilities for night vision; use machine vision to detect smoke; and can link to incident command centers to notify fire officials when a plume of smoke appears.

Local firefighters can control the cameras to help with planning, preparing and responding to wildfire emergencies.

“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 CEO. “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.”

The cameras provided images of the 100-acre Church Fire, which broke out Oct. 21 in Campo, according to SDG&E.

A similar system, developed by the University of Nevada-Reno, has been credited with helping authorities spot more than 300 blazes in Lake Tahoe and Nevada over the past two years.

SDG&E’s cameras are aimed at Red Mountain near Fallbrook, multiple locations on Palomar Mountain, Volcan Mountain near Julian, Black Mountain near Rancho Penasquitos, Mount Woodson near Poway, two sites on Mount Laguna, Los Pinos Peak south of Pine Valley, Cowles Mountain in San Diego, Lyons Peak in Jamul and Otay Mountain east of Otay Mesa.

The public can access the camera views at alertwildfire.org/sdge.