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New wildfire cameras will detect fires on Santa Barbara front country

Posted at 10:40 AM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 13:10:04-05

A wildfire detection camera is now installed on Santa Barbara’s TV Hill, providing coverage of the Santa Barbara front country.

The ALERTCalifornia camera is part of a growing network of cameras across the western United States that help local, state, and federal agencies watch for wildfires.

“Thanks to these cameras, it’s now rare that we respond to a fire without having eyes on it before we respond,” Montecito wildland fire specialist Nic Elmquist said in a press release. “Until now, we had limited coverage of the South Coast’s wildland areas. It’s a huge advantage to be able to watch an incident emerge from the first puff of smoke.”

Technicians with ALERTCalifornia traveled to the South Coast Monday to install the camera on KEYT Newschannel’s property. The local television news station’s patio provides an unobstructed, panoramic view of the Santa Barbara front country, including Montecito’s wildland areas.

The camera provides 24/7 “eyes” on the fire-prone hillsides and eventually, will alert firefighters to new fire starts using artificial intelligence technology. The camera views are also publicly available so that community members can gain a better understanding of where a fire is burning.

The camera on TV Hill and plans for another on Ortega Ridge in Montecito will join a network of hundreds of cameras that provide coverage of wildland areas. There are two existing cameras on Gibraltar Peak.

Twenty thousand dollars have been allocated from the Montecito Fire Protection District’s general fund for the cameras.

For more information about ALERTCalifornia, click here.