PG&E adds more weather stations, high-definition cameras to monitor wildfire conditions
More than 600 weather stations, 130 HD cameras now installed across Northern and Central California
–Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has now installed more than 600 weather stations and 130
high-definition (HD) cameras across its service area. PG&E says it will continue to expand these networks in high fire-threat areas to enhance weather forecasting and modeling and improve the company’s ability to predict and respond to extreme wildfire danger.
Among the 130 HD cameras now installed across PG&E’s service territory, there is currently one located in San Luis Obispo County – at the top of Cuesta Peak. Currently, they do not yet have any cameras installed in our service area in northern Santa Barbara County.
“The station observations allow our meteorologists to analyze critical fire weather elements like extreme wind, temperature and low humidity,” said Ashley Helmetag, a PG&E senior meteorologist. “The stations and cameras are a part of our real-time situational awareness tools that assist us as we make decisions on Public Safety Power Shutoffs to protect our communities.”
This data is also critical information for PG&E’s analysts in the Wildfire Safety Operations Center, the “hub” from where the company monitors threats across its service territory and coordinates with first responders and public safety officials to respond to emerging threats.
The HD cameras are part of the ALERTWildfire Camera Network, a situational awareness tool built by the University of California San Diego, the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Oregon. The high-definition, pan-tilt-zoom cameras have near-infrared capabilities that allow firefighters, first responders and companies such as PG&E to confirm and monitor wildfires.
By 2022, PG&E says it plans to have installed 1,300 weather stations and 600 HD cameras – a density of one weather station roughly every 20 circuit-miles and video coverage of roughly 90 percent within the highest fire-risk areas.
For information about fire conditions in California, go to CAL FIRE’s website, www.fire.ca.gov.
For more information about the Community Wildfire Safety Program, including links to update contact information, resources for Public Safety Power Shutoffs and a schedule of upcoming regional open houses and webinars, visit PG&E’s website at www.pge.com/wildfiresafety.