The R2-D2-shaped Flamesniffer being installed by SoCal Edison personnel on a electricity tower.

Nine fire-detection units — called Flamesniffers — were recently installed atop Southern California Edison towers in the Mission Canyon foothills. The units, capable of detecting changes in heat, smoke, humidity, and wind and of taking a photograph of the surrounding conditions, are part of a year-long pilot program pitched by now-retired County Fire Chief Michael Dyer as a way to keep firefighters apprised quicker and enact faster evacuations if necessary. The Flamesniffers will also live-stream the conditions to County Fire’s dispatch center. Flamesniffer donated the units and associated equipment for the project, estimated around $40,500.


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