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FireCams to watch for wildfires

For Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue

by: Submitted photo - A FireCam will provide extra help with wildfires.

An unusual alliance between a fiber optics company and a fire district has come together with one simple goal, early detection and attack on wildfire.
   Pine Telephone System Inc., a local fiber optics telecommunications company, has created a webcam system for the Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue fire protection district in western Jefferson County.
   The cameras are atop a 90-foot telecommunication/wi-fi tower, installed by Pine System to improve telephone and broadband access in the rural area.
   The site is located near the center of Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue Fire Protection District.
   The new camera system will assist local fire authorities to monitor the rural areas around Lake Billy Chinook for wildfires.
   The project, known as FireCam, is using webcams to show firefighters, incident commanders and dispatchers a real-time, 360-degree view of areas that were previously difficult to view.
   The new FireCams will provide a clear view of approximately 60 square miles. The view will be is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the Internet.
   In a recent study by the Oregon Department of Forestry, smoke detection cameras have proved to be a significant asset in fire detection.
   Camera detection of fires in their infancy allows for quicker response and more effective use of suppression resources. This in turn significantly reduces fire cost and resource damage.
   "This is just another tool in our toolbox for early wildfire detection and rapid initial attack," Fire Chief Don Colfels explained. "One of the valuable features of the webcams is that they are accessible from anywhere there is Internet access, including your vehicle or your smartphone."
   "These remote control cameras can pan east over the Crooked River National Grassland, west to the Deschutes National Forest and all of our private protection areas in between," he said. "State and federal partners may also access these cams to improve views that fire lookouts may have a difficult time seeing in our area."
   "Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue would like to thank Pine Telephone System Inc., their staff and technicians for their generosity in providing this new technology to our protection district," Colfels noted.
   "Their support and benevolence will prove to be a great resource in the early detection of wildfire, saving lives and property," he said.