Prosperity Center launches campaign to buy more fire cameras

Staff Report


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The impact of devastating wildfires is being felt worldwide, from local fires in California and Oregon to fires across the globe in Greece and Turkey.

The Tahoe Prosperity Center has launched a $1 million campaign to help prevent future fires. This campaign aims to grow the AlertWildfire network.

AlertWildfire is a network of nearly 1,000 specialized camera installations used by first responders and volunteers to detect wildfires before they become too big. The cameras also support critical evacuation and firefighting efforts by relaying real-time information when it’s needed most.

AlertWildfire is a collaboration between major universities (Nevada, Reno; Oregon; and San Diego), first responders (Cal Fire, Emergency Services), federal agencies (US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management), and more, who use the strategically placed cameras 24/7 to protect people, homes, and the environment.

“Alert Tahoe started here 10 years ago and is now AlertWildfire. Those initial 11 cameras have helped fire crews keep us safe from over 100 fires. Now, more than ever, we need the same kind of protection for other communities. Case in point, the Caldor Fire is over 60,000 acres and 0% contained which is knocking on Lake Tahoe’s door,” said Heidi Hill Drum, CEO of the Tahoe Prosperity Center in a press release.

Each custom-built camera costs money to install and maintain, but can save countless lives and help prevent incalculable damage to our communities. Adding more cameras to the AlertWildfire network is a simple action to support the brave men and women fighting these wildfires. More cameras — and the funds to maintain and operate them — will help protect increasingly at-risk communities and give firefighters an invaluable tool for fighting these large, complex wildfires.

The idea of the AlertWildfire network was first conceived in 2009 by a group of high school students in Meadow Vista. The same group of students built the first prototype, and won the Innovate Award at the Children’s Climate Action in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Over the past few years, the program has expanded as a collaboration across nearly 90 federal agencies, utilities, and organizations.

Today, wildfires are having an increasingly dramatic impact on our planet and the brave firefighters who keep us safe, need our support.

“So many of us will never know the devastation that families in Grizzly Flats today are going through. Or that families in Greenville, Paradise and other areas have already gone through. However, we can help ensure our communities have this simple technology to be better prepared during fire season. The 11 cameras in Lake Tahoe have given firefighters early information so they could stop another 2007 Angora Fire that destroyed more than 250 homes in South Lake Tahoe,” said Hill Drum.

“If your company or community wants to add cameras, then please help with this fundraising campaign. Dedicate your fundraising effort to a camera in your community. We are starting this effort with a $1 million goal, but we hope other regions and companies with the ability to financially support these cameras will join TPC, CALFire, the USFS, and the volunteers at Google, among others to add to this life-saving network,” said Dr. Graham Kent of the University of Nevada, Reno in the press release.

They’re fundraising to enable the next decade of AlertWildfire’s wildfire protection network through the Tahoe Prosperity Center, the official nonprofit of the effort and the organization that raised funds for the first camera network in Lake Tahoe that has helped stop over 100 wildfires since coming online.

They have also teamed up with Google employees who volunteered their time to help create this fundraising campaign.

To contribute, visit


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