Wildfire news, October 19, 2008

Oregon forests protected by cameras

From NRToday.com:

The Oregon Department of Forestry has recognized four Douglas Forest Protective Association employees for their innovative work in fire detection. 

The employees were presented a team award recently for their research and implementation of a video fire detection system that is receiving national attention, according to a DFPA press release.

The forestry department’s Southern Oregon area director nominated the team for the award. The DFPA employees are District Manager Melvin Thornton, Project Manager Scott Jackson, Staff Forester Dennis Sifford and Geographic Information System Specialist George Day.

Thornton began researching the camera system in 2005 because the association’s traditional lookout structures were in need of repair or replacement. Thornton sought a less expensive alternative to replacing the structures, which can cost more than $300,000, according to the press release.

DFPA began testing out the cameras in 2006 and now has eight cameras monitoring the 1.6 million-acre district. The cameras transmit video images to the DFPA office in Roseburg and sound alarms if a column of smoke is detected.

They can rotate 360 degrees every six minutes while providing an operator with the ability to zoom in for a closer look.

Each camera costs about a tenth of the price of a new lookout station.

Five cameras are also now in use throughout the Umpqua National Forest, Coos Forest Protective Association and surrounding department of forestry districts, according to the press release.

DFPA’s headquarters serves as the detection center for all the sites.

Update on Li’l Smokey

The bear cub that was rescued from the fire in northern California is doing better and is still being cared for at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. When rescued, he weighed 8 pounds. He now weighs 56 pounds.

Not only does Li’l Smokey have a Blog, but he even has a web cam.


Video of two fire trucks colliding

Firegeezer has the details here and here about the collision between two fire trucks in St. Louis, but this 12-second video is amazing. It was taken by a camera designed to catch vehicles running a red light. It is a good topic for a tailgate safety meeting. This camera could not have been positioned in a better spot to catch this accident. It almost looks like a scene from a movie.

Thankfully, all of the 8 firefighters were wearing seat belts and there were no serious injuries, except for the one firefighter who was kept overnight in the hospital for a concussion.

UPDATE @ 9:48 a.m., Oct. 24: the video has been pulled from YouTube, possibly at the request of the City of St. Louis. But Firegeezer has a copy of it squirreled away HERE.

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