Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fire Information – UPDATED...

It's time for my annual fire information page update.

Cameras are a primary source for ground truth when there's a local and active fire.  We learned the hard way in 2007 that local news sources are, for the most part, completely useless for “tactical” needs – if you're trying to find out about current fire location, current road closures, current escape routes, etc., these sources are just too slow.  Fortunately for us here in San Diego County, UCSD's HPWREN system has a network of cameras at over a dozen sites.  The images from these cameras are updated every two minutes, and they've got date/time stamps right in them – so you can be certain that the information you're viewing is current.  The main HPWREN camera site and a mirror site are both available.  I recommend getting familiar with the cameras most relevant to your location (for example, for us it's the cameras on Lyons Peak), and familiar with tools like Google Earth that will help you identify the landmarks you see in the HPWREN images.  During the 2007 fires, we found these cameras to be the single best tool available to us – we used them to plan our evacuation route, and we used them to track the fire's approach to our home (which, thankfully, it never reached).

There are other very useful web sites as well.  Here are three that I found useful during the 2007 fires:

California Department of Forestry: CAL FIRE Incidents

U.S. Deparment of the Interior/Department of Agriculture: GeoMAC

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Fire Data Web Services

If any of you know about other useful web sites, tools, or information sources, please let me know about them so I can share them with everyone...

UPDATED: There's a small fire (at least for now) over near Sycuan Casino, last reported at 20 acres and good progress being made controlling it.  In the course of researching this, I came across a new resource:

CAL FIRE twitter  (who knew?)

Also, here's the CAL FIRE San Diego County fire information number (only active duing major incidents): 619/590-3160

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your blog today. I'll let you know if I should see anything worth reporting.