Middle East Morning

Watch the moment the Kincade fire in Sonoma County ignited

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latimesFrom Barham Peak in the North Bay, a small bright light can be seen far in the distance. It appears suddenly, at first as a small bright light.

Before long, it explodes, brightening the surrounding hills.

The ignition of the Kincade fire was captured by a camera from the ALERT Wildfire program, an effort by three universities — The University of Nevada, UC San Diego and the University of Oregon — to help firefighters and first responders investigate fire origins and behavior. The program is funded by utility companies throughout California, including Pacific Gas & Electric.

The ALERTWildfire camera captured the Kincade fire’s beginnings at about 9:20 p.m. and monitored its growth over 40 minutes. Neal Driscoll, professor of geology and geoscience at UC San Diego, said fire officials have the ability to access the cameras and move them as needed remotely. The video helps firefighters and first responders make decisions as they battle flames and help residents evacuate.

“Our whole goal is to save lives, minimize burning of wildland and [save] habitats,” he said. “First responders and Cal Fire have password-encrypted rights to get on the cameras” through their cellphones.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Kincade fire was at 10,000 acres and was expected to grow. Firefighters have struggled to make progress and the fire remained 0% contained, according to fire officials.

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