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Santa Barbara County Has New Tool To Sniff Out Wildfires

Santa Barbara County Firefighters will soon have a new tool to sniff out wildfires.

The FlameSniffer is made in Australia and has yet to be used in the United States. FlameSniffer chose Santa Barbara County for its pilot program in the U.S. The installation and use of the products for the 12-month trial are free for Santa Barbara County.

“Well it is an early detection system. It detects an ignition source and it gives that information back to either our fire station or our dispatch center,” said Capt. David Sadecki, with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The nine FlameSniffers are being installed in areas that experience wild fires frequently near Mission Canyon in Santa Barbara. Firefighters hope the early detection will help them stop the fire before it is visible to nearby homeowners.

“The reason this particular area was chosen is because of the fire that occurred in 2009, the Jesusita Fire, a fast-moving fire that destroyed a lot of homes. We evacuated a lot of people,” said Sadecki.

The FlameSniffer also has a built-in camera, as well as weather information censors.

“It flashes a photo about every 17 seconds. So it gives us real-time information about what is going on visually. It also gives us real-time weather information as far as the temperature, wind speed, wind direction and humidity,” said Sadecki.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department has been working on getting censors like these for the last five years. The goal is to have the nine FlameSniffers installed within the next few weeks.

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