High-Tech Cameras Help Keep Communities Safe

SCE has so far installed 134 of these cameras in fire prone areas in partnership with fire agencies.

As strong and gusty winds quickly spread the Horseshoe Fire in Juniper Flats, Dan Face was able to closely watch its projected path of destruction on the ALERT Wildfire network. The extremely dry conditions helped fuel the fire and caused Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire to evacuate hundreds of people last month.

“Our cameras helped us determine that we needed to deploy early to monitor this fire as it approached our facilities,” said Face, Southern California Edison Fire Management officer. “This allowed us enough time to keep the power on to help facilitate evacuations.”

The innovative camera technology enhances the company’s situational awareness capabilities and gives fire agencies the ability to respond to wildfire activity more quickly.

Up to 160 high-tech wildfire cameras will be installed by the end of the year.
Up to 160 high-tech wildfire cameras will be installed by the end of the year.

So far, 134 hi-tech cameras have been installed and are monitoring up to 75 percent of about a quarter of state-designated high fire risk areas served by SCE. As part of the company’s 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Plan, up to 160 cameras will be operational by the end of this year, providing approximately 90 percent coverage of fire prone areas.

These cameras stream images on the ALERT Wildfire network. SCE is partnering with the University of California, San Diego and the University of Nevada, Reno to deploy the cameras. The cameras can pan, tilt, zoom and perform 360 degree sweeps approximately every minute with 12 high-definition frames per sweep.

SCE’s Fire Management Organization and public agencies can access the cameras around-the-clock to monitor wildfire activity. Some of the camera locations include L.A. County near Topanga Canyon, Ventura County near Ojai, Riverside County near Moreno Valley and San Bernardino County near Crestline.

The cameras provide real-time images that Southern California Edison and fire agencies can rely on to protect our customers, communities and equipment from the ongoing threat of wildfires.” 

Thomas Brady, SCE Senior Manager

A wildfire camera captures the Horseshoe Fire.

Thomas Brady, SCE’s senior manager of Business Continuity, helped develop the program and oversees the installation of the hi-tech cameras and weather stations in strategic locations across the utility’s service territory.

“The cameras provide real-time images that Southern California Edison and fire agencies can rely on to protect our customers, communities and equipment from the ongoing threat of wildfires,” he said.

Jieranai Maier, an SCE customer and former Silicon Valley tech-worker, monitored the cameras during the Holy Fire and encourages others to do the same, especially if they live in a fire prone area.

“I’m happy that more cameras have been installed, so people can watch for wildfires near their own communities,” she said.