Bird’s-eye fire spotting

Rosebank Lodge members John Patterson (left), Peter Hirth (second left) and Les Kelly (right) present Lismore Group communications officer Robert Pullen (second right) and Lismore RFB captain Chris Lang (centre) with a new fire monitoring laptop.

FIRE movements will be easier to monitor in the Derrinallum district thanks to a new webcam now firmly in place atop Mount Elephant.

The move comes after a two year trial and firmed up this week with the addition of a laptop computer to monitor the webcam’s footage.

The Freemasons Rosebank Lodge (Beeac) and the Freemasons Foundation Victoria jointly funded the laptop and presented it to Derrinallum CFA members on Thursday.

Lodge member and local resident John Patterson said the Rosebank Lodge was fully supportive of the $1600 initiative.

“Anything that helps to keep the community safe is worthwhile and that is the basic aim of the webcam,” he said.

“It’s helping the community at a grassroots level and that is something the Freemasons are committed to doing.”

Rosebank Lodge member John Patterson and Lismore RFB captain Chris Lang waste no time connecting up the fire monitoring laptop.

Lismore Rural Fire Brigade (RFB) captain Chris Lang said webcam images could now be viewed on the laptop at Mount Elephant, the fire station or at the fireground itself.

“We can see the progress of any fire within a 50 kilometre radius,” he said.

“The webcam can also give us accurate footage, bearings and elevations in real time.

“We’ll also be able to send photos and videos from the webcam to operators at the fireground and to mobile phones.”

The technology also allows users to zero in and magnify the fire scene to determine whether it is increasing rapidly, starting spot fires or breaking out on the flanks.

Mr Lang said the webcam would complement the fire spotting work carried out from Mount Porndon to the south.

“When the lakes out here are dry, the dust can be that thick that you simply can’t see into this area from Mount Porndon,” he said.

“The area to the north also comes out of fire restriction period earlier than here, so quite often there is a lot of smoke around during that time and the webcam will allow us to determine if it is a fire here or just a stubble burn from further north.”

Steps have also been taken to ensure the technology is used for fire monitoring purposes only in an effort to protect the privacy of local residents.

“This is a wonderful addition to our fire fighting armoury and we’re very grateful to the Freemasons for providing the funds to make it happen,” Mr Lang said.

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