For Immediate ReleaseMarch 30, 2015
Photos from 4 Marin peaks updated every 10 minutes
Woodacre, CA — Last October the Marin County Fire Department, in partnership with FIRESafe MARIN and PG&E, installed six fire detection cameras for internal monitoring of smoke and fire danger from four critical peaks in Marin. Now, still images from the cameras on Mount Tamalpais, Mount Barnabe, Big Rock Ridge and Point Reyes Hill – updated every 10-15 minutes – are available to the public to view online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
After yet another unseasonably dry winter, California’s fire danger remains at an all-time high as the state enters its fourth consecutive year of drought. Though Marin is in better shape than much of the state with its reservoirs at 95 percent capacity, the threat of a large scale wildland fire remains one of the single greatest disaster risks to many communities.
“With these conditions, early detection of fires is even more important. As fires increase in size, they become exponentially more difficult to contain, therefore early detection is vital,” said Mark Brown, Deputy Chief of the Marin County Fire Department.
The installation of the ForestWatch camera system last fall has allowed the Fire Department – which protects 251 square miles of unincorporated areas and 199,000 acres of State Responsibility Area – to monitor fire danger from the lookout peaks 24/7 for the first time.
The public, however, will be getting a different view online than dispatch operators will see from the six-screen display at the Emergency Command Center in Woodacre; where each of the six cameras project 18 simultaneous views at 20 degrees each creating a 360 degree view of current conditions. The images at the command center are continuously updated.
The camera system uses mathematical algorithms to analyze landscape imagery, and alerts an operator when smoke is detected. The operator can use system tools to examine the detection more closely, and if necessary, can rapidly dispatch a response to the precise location of the fire. To make the camera feeds compatible for the web, four preselected views from each peak – a total of 16 different views – are updated every 10-15 minutes online on the FIRESafe Marin website and Marin County Fire Department page on marincounty.org.
FIRESafe MARIN, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the threat of wildland fires improving fire safety awareness in Marin, partnered with PG&E last fall to secure funding for the $207,000 camera system.
“This project was a great example of our core mission of bringing public and private resources together,” said FIRESafe MARIN’s Todd Lando. He also added that, with over $600,000 in grant funds secured so far, 2014-15 has been the most successful year in the organization’s history. Most recently, FIRESafe MARIN partnered with the Fire Department to secure a $123,000 CAL FIRE grant to rewrite the County’s Wildfire Protection Plan, last updated in 2005.
Marin was one of eight counties around the state to receive the ForestWatch camera system, thanks to funding from PG&E. The utility company oversaw the installation of 28 detection cameras in Marin, Calaveras, Humboldt, El Dorado, Napa, Santa Clara, Siskiyou and Butte counties. To date, Marin is the only county that has made still images from the cameras available to the public online. PG&E recently made a video on the $2 million fire detection camera program, largely featuring Marin.
Mike GianniniBattalion ChiefMark BrownDeputy ChiefMarin County Fire Department
33 Castle Rock Ave.Woodacre, CA 94973(415) 473-2595Email: Mike GianniniMarin County Fire website