Edison doubles its number of wildfire monitors in SCV

Edison’s Emergency Operations Center. Photo courtesy of Southern California Edison

Southern California Edison stepped up its plan to better detect wildfires this summer, doubling the number of  high-tech weather monitors and cameras it installed in fields, valleys and hilltops across the Santa Clarita Valley.

The SCV is now dotted with eight weather-monitoring devices in “high fire risk areas,” enabling fire responders to issue red flag warnings with finer acuity.

In the past, Edison’s meteorologists and fire officials used weather-monitoring technology that allowed them to identify risk conditions for a 2-mile area.

The technology is hoped to give firefighters an edge in jumping on brush fires faster through earlier detection.

“We now have eight weather stations installed and operating near Santa Clarita and there are some in Fillmore as well,” Reggie Kumar said in an email Monday.

“We’re in the process of also installing composite poles, covered conductors and more fire-monitoring cameras in high fire risk areas,” he said.

The monitors are kind of like the popular doorstep surveillance technology systems but for SCV’s wilderness areas.

Monitors were installed:

–  near Golden Valley Road and Sierra Highway.

– Lost Canyon Road and Oak Springs Canyon Road.

– Burlwood Drive and Hasley Canyon Road.

– Texas Canyon Road and Bouquet Canyon Road.

– Vasquez Canyon Road and Meadstone Road.

– Lake Hughes Road and Baal Point Road.

-, Knoll Court and Park Vista Drive.

–  Highway 126 and Camino Del Rio

“Some of the weather stations are located in isolated and rugged areas — due to safety concerns we highly discourage people from going to those areas,” Kumar said.

A total of 125 are being installed across SCE’s service territory this year, with more expected to be installed in 2019.

“These preventative measures are being implemented to protect customers and communities against the increasing threat of wildfires,” Kumar said.

In June, Edison began using enhanced weather-monitoring technology, which enables them to identify the same risk conditions down to one-third of a mile.

They do this by exploiting “real time” information culled from solar-powered weather station monitors attached to existing utility poles.

“Our goal is to have 125 in place in L.A. and Orange counties,” Don Daigler, Edison’s director of business resiliency, said at the beginning of the summer.

Fire officials issue red flag warnings when critical fire weather conditions are occurring – or are about to occur – that involve high winds, low humidity and warm temperatures.

Edison’s solar-powered pole-mounted weather sensors and high-resolution cameras promise to reveal red flag situations faster and more accurately.

Edison meteorologists receive vital red flag information every 10 minutes from the devices they placed strategically in the wilderness including data on wind speed, wind gusts, temperature, humidity and solar radiation.

The comprehensive “real time” high-resolution monitoring of weather in the wild world around us does not stop there.

High-resolution cameras set up in fields, valleys and hilltops are expected to pepper all of Southern California — including the SCV.

The live feed of wilderness will be accessible online.

“The cameras can pinpoint a fire almost immediately,” Daigler said.

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