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Watch Duty for Fire Season
Use app to be notified of local fires
Fire season is here. If you want to keep track of local fire as they happen, you should download the app, Watch Duty. Its focus is covering vegetation fires that might spread. As an app, Watch Duty will send you notifications of fires. It provides a real-time news feed for each fire with maps, photos and updates on the response.
At 2:32 pm on Tuesday, the Roblar Fire broke out near the intersection of Valley Ford and Roblar Roads. The fire grew to 63 acres before it was contained within a couple of hours.
At 4:33 pm, a vegetation fire was reported near the Novato dump at San Antonio Rd and Hwy 101. By 5pm, northbound traffic on Hwy 101 had slowed to a crawl and then was reduced to one lane. The SMART train was stopped. By about 7pm, the fire which had grown to 135 acres, was nearing full containment.
Watch Duty was developed in Sonoma County, according to a story in the Press Democrat about its founder, John Mills of Healdsburg. The app is free, created by a non-profit, and it is staffed by a team of reporters who are volunteers. The Watch Duty app is available for iOS and Android. It is also available through a web browser.
Kudos to Watch Duty for creating a remarkably useful service, which has become a necessity given the expanding length and intensity of fire season.