West Lake Hills, Texas wins Award for FireWatch


Faced with a serious public-safety risk of urban wildfire, the city sought a cost-effective way to monitor its beautiful and treasured urban forest. The solution involved space-age technology and old-fashioned teamwork. Working with elected and appointed officials with Travis County, the City of Austin, and special districts, a network of four sensors where installed that can detect wildfires day and night. The sensors, developed by Germany’s space agency, use optical and infrared sensors to identify digital patterns that indicate smoke resulting from fire. When a possible fire event is detected, the system automatically alerts a dispatcher who confirms the event and in turn alerts first responders. West Lake Hills residents are now safer and better equipped to detect and fight wildfires.