High-tech cameras helping California firefighters battle wildfires are now publicly accessible

Wildfire season is almost here, and there’s a new way you can help firefighters — from anywhere.

The University of California San Diego and state fire agencies have partnered to launch a public website for people to watch live camera feeds across the state.

The program called ALERTCalifornia also helps firefighters fight fires by using a network of more than 1,000 live camera sensors to track the fires before, during and after. It gives them information on the conditions before sending crews into the flames.

“We’re trying to understand the impacts, the cascading disasters after these events,” said Dr. Neal Driscoll, a professor of geology and geophysics at the UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California .


“I’m a professor. I study earthquakes, I make sensors, and here these sensors lend themselves to other events, such as atmospheric rivers and wildfires,” he continued.

Cal Fire, or the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, uses this data from emergency command centers.

“These cameras are on mountaintops that we can access, and so if we get a 911 call from someone reporting smoke, we can one click away just get on the computer and see if there is actually any smoke in the area,” said Capt. Brent Pascua, Cal Fire Public Information Officer. “We can use multiple cameras to pinpoint the location and get a better location as w