About 1 year after a Blackcomb wildfire, Whistler taps new tech to tackle blazes

An early wildfire season is upon us and Whistler is bracing itself by installing new technology aimed at helping fire crews contain blazes before they grow out of control.

The resort municipality will set up two detection cameras as part of a two-year trial with FireWatch, a German company.

Coverage of B.C. wildfires on

The heat-and-smoke-sensitive cameras will be installed atop Whistler Mountain and at the community’s transfer station, Whistler Fire Rescue Service chief Geoff Playfair told council on May 22.

The sensors will be able to detect smoke and heat signatures over 70 per cent of the Whistler Valley.

The new technology comes one season after a human-caused fire threatened homes on Blackcomb Mountain in July 2017.

That fire was first spotted by a golfer.

The blaze grew just a few hundred metres from residences in the resort town but was eventually held by fire crews.

At the time, resident Chris Kent said the blaze was “probably the closest I’ve ever seen a wildfire to buildings in Whistler in my 27 years living here.”

The early detection cameras are expected to go live by July 6.

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