Infrared images from the weather satellite GOES show the Camp Fire spreading during the four hours after ignition on Nov. 8, 2018, during which time it burned through the town of Paradise. Such images, downloaded quickly, could be used to alert fire, police and residents of developing wildland fires. (Image courtesy of Jeff Chambers)
 
While state and federal officials are looking ahead and worrying about the coming fire season and how to more quickly get in front of fast-moving blazes, a University of California, Berkeley, professor argues that the tools for rapid detection are already here.

A weather satellite, GOES 17 (GOES West), sits above California taking photos every five minutes that can show hot spots throughout the West. If visible light and infrared data from this geostationary satellite are downloaded quickly enough, a computer program could easily be written to search for hot spots and alert emergency responders within as little as 15 to 30 minutes.