City near Austin to install automatic wildfire detection system

FireWatch America

FireWatch AmericaThe City Council of West Lake Hills, near Austin, Texas, has approved the purchase of a camera system to detect wildfires. The FireWatch devices mounted on towers are designed to detect smoke within 6 miles by rotating their sensors, completing a 360-degree rotation every 8 to 12 minutes, during which it takes images, analyzes, and then transmits those images for secondary analysis. If possible fire events are detected, the system alerts fire authorities.

West Lake Hills, with a population of about 3,000, is described on Wikipedia as a wealthy suburb on the west side of Austin.

The City Council has set aside $200,000 for the purchase and installation of the camera system. The city of Austin and Travis County are also considering the acquisition of the devices.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

2 thoughts on “City near Austin to install automatic wildfire detection system”

  1. Interesting that a city is installing a fire-watching system for $200,000 plus towers. I wonder what a human powered system would cost? But of course $200,000 for a camera is much cheaper than providing jobs for college aged kids with binoculars.

    1. The towers to be utilized by the camera system are the cell towers, in place, at no cost to the city.
      Research the wildfire risk in Travis County 2013.

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