BLM Utilizing Mountaintop Cameras To Help Combat Wildfires

Jul 7, 2016

The fire camera on the Midas Peak tower, about 40 miles north of Battle Mountain, tracked the Hot Pot fire. The camera is one of the first four cameras installed last year in the Bureau of Land Management Nevada funded project that is installed and maintained by the University of Nevada, Reno.
Credit University of Nevada, Reno

The Hot Pot fire has burned nearly two hundred square miles of rural land near Battle Mountain. One tool area fire crews have been using is a new live-stream remote camera system.

The Bureau of Land Management is using new mountaintop cameras operated by the University of Nevada, Reno's Seismological Lab to help fight fires.

Paul Petersen is state fire management officer for the BLM. He says the cameras help departments manage their resources.

“Whenever we get a report of a fire, we’re able to turn the camera to whatever that location is, confirm it and if the fire’s higher than what the response level dictates for that day, we can also adjust that response level from our dispatch centers.”

The BLM currently has five live-stream cameras throughout remote areas of central and northeastern Nevada, and plan to add two more this year. Petersen says this is more than most regions.

“There’s a couple in southeast Oregon that do some remote lookout towers with cameras, but there’s like one or two of those. This is probably the most wide-scale use as far as remote camera system.”

The cameras are placed on top of existing radio towers and use the university’s network to transmit video.