OCFA unveils high-tech tools that may help stop wildfires in local communities

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- New firefighting technology is being introduced in Orange County to help stop wildfires and protect communities.

The Orange County Fire Authority and its partners on Thursday unveiled a new set of high-tech tools to help them respond to wildfires like the devastating Canyon Fires last year.

It starts with cameras installed atop Santiago Peak, giving dispatchers eyes on potential flames.

"It's a big difference because now a vague report of a smoke check can be validated by an actual fire with a physical location, and we can get the resources going to the right place at the right time," said OCFA Division Chief Brian Norton.

The technology, developed by UC San Diego shows real-time shots of danger areas.

Southern California Edison installed the cameras on their tower.

"(It) ensures that our critical infrastructure stays up more routinely and that our customers don't lose power," said Don Daigler of SoCal Edison.

The OCFA is also using tools to predict movement of a fire.

The National Weather Service launched a new satellite that can pick out flames, often before the first call comes in, and notifies officials by text.

"Monitoring the world, California, Orange County 24/7, and now we're able to get hotspot notification," said Alex Tardy of the National Weather Service.

With the devastation of last year's fires in mind, these agencies hope teaming up can help them respond faster and better to protect lives and property.

OCFA officials said they are exploring the possibility of adding more cameras and weather stations throughout the county.
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