Fire watch cameras to be considered in Sonoma County and installed within months

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Sonoma County Supervisors are considering installing fire watch cameras across the county. The cameras would help identify wildfires early and dispatch resources.

Fire watch cameras atop Bald Mountain captured the County Fire in Yolo County. Similar cameras could soon be installed in Sonoma County.

RELATED: County Fire burning near Lake Berryessa scorches over 88,000 acres

"Even as simple as it sounds it's so critical," said Graham Kent, University of Nevada, Reno. He says the cameras help locate fire in seconds not minutes.

"We have a nice lightning interface that helps us discover a lot of lightning based fires," said Kent.

Time is critical for Cal Fire Captain Mike Mohler.

"We can see an early start on a fire and start pushing resources that direction," said Capt. Mohler.

RELATED: Inside the basecamp for firefighters battling the County Fire

One of the proposed fire watch camera locations is in the hills around Santa Rosa.

Pepperwood Preserve is elevated enough to see the hilltops and much of the burn scarring from last year's firestorm. If approved the cameras could be installed ahead of the one year anniversary.

"We had success with them and still do in Southern California so absolutely it's something that we would definitely use," said Capt. Mohler.

The cameras would be installed on existing towers with the first batch put up around Lake Sonoma. It's a vital reservoir supplying more than 600,000 people in the North Bay with drinking water.

The project is estimated to cost around $475,000. County supervisors will consider the proposal on August 7th.

For more stories, photos, and video on recent wildfires, visit this page.
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