PG&E Expanding Wildfire Detection Network
By the end of 2019, PG&E plans to have at least 600 weather stations and 100 high-definition cameras in high fire-threat areas.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced June 3 that it is expanding its network of weather stations and high-definition cameras to improve its ability to predict and respond to extreme wildfire danger, as part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program. By the end of 2019, PG&E plans to have at least 600 weather stations and 100 high-definition cameras in high fire-threat areas.
"The enhanced meteorological data we are receiving from these weather stations is bolstering our ability to forecast high fire-risk weather conditions with further granularity so that we can take swift action to protect public safety," said PG&E CWSP Vice President Sumeet Singh. "Personnel at PG&E's 24/7 Wildfire Safety Operations Center will use these weather stations and cameras to better monitor wildfire risks and coordinate prevention and response efforts, and the data is shared publicly and with agencies such as CAL FIRE."
After installing 200 weather stations in 2018, PG&E has added 200 more so far this year and plans to have approximately 400 new weather stations installed during 2019. They are prioritized in areas at elevated and extreme risk for wildfires, based on the California Public Utilities Commission's High Fire-Threat District Map.
PG&E also has installed 25 of the 100 high-definition cameras planned for this year, with 34 HD cameras put in place since 2018. The goal is to install 600 new cameras by 2022 as 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 allow firefighters, first responders, and companies such as PG&E to confirm and monitor potential wildfires. According to the company, the system has been instrumental in tracking more than 500 fires since it was first developed in 2013.