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Fire spotting webcam

Update 12/3/2018

 Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera and its solar panel and wifi antenna.

In Dec 2015 as a  trial a private web camera was mounted on the trig point at the summit of Mount Elephant.
Also mounted here is a GPS base which is used for the auto-steer of local farm machinery.
The webcam uses the tractor guidance solar panel and battery.
It transmits by wifi 9km to a house internet connection.
The trial is continued this year with upgraded camera and internet connection.
Management of the camera is strictly controlled, with just 2 operators.

The aim of the trial is to spot smoke from fires when the fire towers have poor visibility or are not manned.
This is useful during lightning storms and to watch the development and control of wildfires.
In 2016/17 the trial was a project of Mount Elephant Community Management  and not formally connected to the CFA or fire brigades.
The trial was a success, with many fires to 30km distance being spotted and tracked.
In Dec 2016 Lismore CFA Group moved to find funding to establish a permanent webcam on the summit and develop a protocol for its use.
Briefly, the camera operator can monitor the fire (similar to a fire tower) and can photograph critical stages to send to the fire controller's phone or computer.

During a fire it may be possible to view selected fire images at http://firecam.lismore.vic.au/

The images below are examples of the output in 2016.
In the top left corner there is a date/time stamp and bit rate transmission.
The zoom is x1 to x20 and extra digital zoom if necessary.
The current camera has x30 zoom.

Looking northeast across Derrinallum (zoomed out).

  Same view.       Derrinallum rail crossing (zoomed in x 20).
Lightning strike Hannah's Rd Mingay (12 km north) No zoom. time stamp 27/1/2016 at 1349hrs
Same fire 15 x zoom 1356 hrs
Same fire x 20, suppressed, with helitack above. 1419 hrs
Same fire, west end, x 25, tankers on a breakaway with the easterly change. 1429 hrs.

Click here to see these photos in larger format.

Management Protocols:
Lismore Group appoints several operators of the camera with strict guidelines to observe public privacy.
Use is restricted to monitor smoke and development of fires only.
Key images of fires as they develop are uploaded to http://firecam.lismore.vic.au/ 
These images can be viewed by fire controllers and the public.

Signal is by WiFi to a nearby internet access point.
Cost is: camera ($700), pair of long range WiFi antennas ($600), solar panel ($250), 2 x 100amp.hr deep cycle batteries ($500).

Subpages (1): webcam photos