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Finding New Smoke in Smoke

Crews at the Detection Dispatcher in Medford are looking for new fires in Jackson and Josephine County.

Posted: Aug. 15, 2018 8:06 PM
Updated: Aug. 15, 2018 11:07 PM

Medford, OR- If you look outside you probably can’t see very far because of the smoke.
This is leading people to wonder if smoke from a new fire can even be seen.

Chris James the lead detection dispatcher for the Oregon department of forestry looks for these new fires. He says it’s their primary mission to detect new fire smoke as early as possible.

There are 22 cameras between Jackson and Josephine county that James and his coworkers look through. The cameras create a 180-degree arc of an area. James looks through the arc of cameras to see if there any new fire plumes. The dense drift smoke does make it difficult to see.

The detection dispatcher does have another piece of technology they use when smoke is this dense. They use satellite heat detections. James says we need to be able to find those fires when they are very small and that's a lot more challenging when you have this much drift smoke in the area.

On Monday James and coworkers were able to find two fires in the dense smoke and report it to fire crews to handle right away. That’s something James says they take great pride in.

The detection center plans to monitor this dry thunderstorm until is passes through.

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