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California Region Nets $1.5M Grant for Fire-Detecting Cameras

The Palos Verdes Peninsula has long been susceptible to wildfires and more so in recent years, and in response, Rancho Palos Verdes has approved wildfire-detecting cameras, at $140,000 annually for five years.

(TNS) — The Palos Verdes Peninsula has always been susceptible to wildfires and even more so in recent years, with continual drought conditions.

In response, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council, in October, approved wildfire-detecting cameras, at $140,000 annually for five years. RPV plans to place the cameras in four areas of the city that would also help detect fires in the neighboring Peninsula cities.

On Monday, Nov. 7, Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, along with council representatives from the four Peninsula cities, announced an $1.5 million allocation from the state's budget to help fund the wildfire detection cameras. The infusion of state money will help with long-term funding for the system, RPV officials said.

"This $1.5 million will help ensure the availability and viability of long-term funding for the camera network for years to come," RPV Mayor David Bradley said during a Monday press conference at Del Cerro Park. "While these cameras provide cutting-edge tools to keep our communities safe from wildfires, it will take all of us to ensure we are prepared for disaster."

Muratsuchi, who lives five minutes from Del Cerro Park, said on Monday he appreciates the value the cameras will add.

"I very much appreciate this wildfire detection system to protect my family, my neighbors and our community," Muratsuchi said. "We know that wildfires are only getting worse as climate change continues to get worse."

One of the last major wildfires to hit the Peninsula was in 2009 when about 200 acres burned in RPV and Rolling Hills. More than 1,200 people were evacuated and several homes were damaged. Because of its topography and fauna, the Peninsula is known as an elevated fire-threat area.

The RPV council approved a contract last month with the company Pano AI, which will install four 360-degree, high definition cameras at high vantage points in the city. The cameras will run 24/7 and have a visibility range of 15 miles.

"This is a welcomed opportunity for us to really have the safety and the security of technology to be able to give us the opportunity to evacuate our residents in the event of, God forbid, a major disaster like a fire," Rolling Hills Estates Mayor Frank Zerunyan said on Monday.

The cameras will start to be installed in the next few weeks, officials said in a press release.

© 2022 Palos Verdes Peninsula News, Calif. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.