New committee established to improve field fire detection technology

Salem, Oregon. — Oregon is experiencing increasingly devastating fire seasons with devastating impact. Keeping fires small is critical to protecting Oregonians, their communities and the state’s natural resources from wildfires and mitigating the impacts. The sooner a new fire is noticed, the faster resources can be sent out to combat it. Cameras are an important tracking tool that helps response agencies track millions of acres of woodland, as well as rural and urban communities.

As with all technology, detection cameras are evolving. As new functionality and systems continue to emerge, a new committee was created earlier this year by the Governor’s Office to create a coordinated state-wide approach to ensuring that camera systems developed by the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Hazards Lab at the University of Oregon (OHAZ). @UO) is integrated, interoperable and complementary. The mission of the Field Fire Camera Interoperability Committee is to build relationships, increase field fire camera interoperability and resilience, ensure cross-jurisdictional / cross-government communication and cooperation, and identify and identify best practices on the ecosystem of all risk emergency operations.

The range of ForestWatch cameras perform in several dedicated tracking centers manned by highly trained operators who have a proven track record of fire detection. ALERTWildfire extends camera access to local first responders and provides situational awareness to the public. Joint planning is underway to further expand this network of cameras to complete a nationwide infrastructure and to integrate the camera images from both platforms so that fire and emergency managers can have immediate situational awareness of fire events. Deployment of the University of Oregon’s ALERTWildfire camera system, in conjunction with ODF’s ForestWatch system, will achieve a shared goal of reliable, transparent, and effective monitoring and response for fire resilience in Oregon.

Committee members include:

  • the Governor’s Office
  • Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF)
  • Oregon Hazards Lab at University of Oregon (OHAZ @ UO)
  • Public Security Agencies
  • Fire agencies
  • Emergency drivers
  • United States Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Tribal Representation
  • Statewide interoperability coordinator

Senate Bill 762 (2021) funded an expansion of ODF’s ForestWatch camera system that currently covers ODF jurisdictions, as well as neighboring federal partner and wildland urban interface countries. OHAZ @ UO operates the ALERTWildfire system in Oregon that currently covers additional federal, state, provincial, private, urban, wildland-urban interfaces and other jurisdictions.

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