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University’s seismological lab tracks fires with multi-hazard camera network


block_n-7257641-5226104The University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Seismological Laboratory has produced stunning time-lapse, high-definition video of the Bison Fire since its inception Friday, July 5th.

“This imagery represents an evolution for the lab as it incorporates multi-hazards and climate monitoring using its high-speed microwave IP-based network,” Graham Kent, director of the Seismological Lab said.  “These videos are the opening salvo of a demonstration project that will encompass the Tahoe basin and nearby areas such as Reno and Carson City.”

The network the lab is building will include cameras on several mountaintops in the state such as the one capturing the progress of the Bison fire 24/7 in real time. The camera can tilt, pan 360 degrees and has a 20X optical zoom. The monitoring stations also include seismometers and other environmental monitoring equipment to help emergency managers, researchers and others in their efforts.

When completed, fire personnel and the public will have web-based access to real-time, time-lapse video to improve situational awareness for emergency managers statewide. The lab is also investigating using social media such as Twitter to use this asset as a 21st-Century version of a “fire-watcher” or forest guard. The northern Nevada region’s Pedlar and Tarnahan fires were also tracked and recorded very near the initiation phase through containment.

The vision of the lab is to adapt communications systems to support early response and situational awareness to multi-hazard risks to the northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe area. Dave Slater, senior seismic systems analyst, has designed and implemented the application and data integration for high-definition camera systems deployed on the lab’s microwave system.

The Nevada Seismological Laboratory, a statewide public service department at the University of Nevada, Reno, is a member of the USGS Advanced National Seismic System (http://www.anss.org) and operates a network of about 150 real-time seismograph stations throughout the region providing earthquake information to Nevada citizens, the USGS, and local and state officials.

YouTube videos of portions of the monitoring, with the camera set at 3X zoom from 25 miles away, can be seen at: Bison Fire infrared-camera video from University of Nevada, Reno seismological laboratoryBison Fire video from University of Nevada, Reno seismological laboratory and Bison Fire video from University of Nevada, Reno seismological laboratory. The footage shows the July 2013 Bison fire in the Pine Nut Range southeast of Carson City.

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