New hot spot technology in Pueblo will help detect fires faster

New hot spot technology in Pueblo will help detect fires faster

PUEBLO, Colo. - New fire weather technology at the National Weather Service in Pueblo could help lessen the impact of wildfires this season.

It's satellite imagery that updates more frequently, and with more detail than before, giving fire crews better info about a fire during its early stages.

"These are two wildfires or hot spots that have recently developed in northwest Prowers County," said NWS meteorologist Bill Line as he pointed at the satellite images.

His job is to keep an eye on the satellite images to make sure a fire doesn't pop up. Line said this new technology is five times faster than what it used to be. 

"Now we could detect a fire, as I mentioned, down to around an acre, but also within a mile of where that fire is located we could pinpoint that location," Line said.

He said they are working on getting communication systems set up with fire officials so when a hot spot does pop up, they know who to notify, even before the smoke plume fills the sky.

"For those fires that are in the remote areas, where maybe it takes a little longer for anyone to see smoke or it's a little more difficult to pinpoint where it is, that's where this technology will really be valuable," Line said.
Whether it's new technology or just somebody picking up the phone and calling it in, the faster fire departments get word of a fire, the better.

Erik Duran with the Pueblo Fire Department said the faster they get a handle on a fire, the less it destroys.

"The early warning to get us out there as quickly as possible, we can assess the situation, (and) call additional resources," Duran said.

Duran said it's especially important with the dry conditions and dry grassy areas just waiting to catch in Pueblo.

"Obviously, we want to keep as few incidents as possible during this fire season to get through it without any loss," Duran said.

Everyone's goal is to save the fire from consuming homes and even lives. 

The NWS hopes to have the new technology and new communication lines set up by May.

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