FireWatch Australia

The FireWatch System

The FireWatch system monitors the landscape using a sophisticated sensor unit to collect data. These sensors are mounted on existing telecommunications masts or fire towers and rotate 360 degrees every 4-8 minutes with the sensor capturing three images in every 10 degrees slice of the rotation. Click here to view sensor units at: Mt Cowley | Mt Porndon | Mt Tumorrama.

A combination of 36 images are formed in a panoramic view and fed back to the central system in a Control Room.

FireWatch System Overview

  • OSS - Optical Sensor System - Each OSS rotates 360° within 
4 to 10 minutes in 10° steps
  • Data transfer - The OSS at the tower site has a wireless connection to the office computer.
  • Central Office - The forest workers are provided with a workspace (computer, two monitors and a printer).

Each FireWatch sensor has a detection range of up to 40kms depending upon topography with a visual field resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixel CCD depending on the lens configuration.

The FireWatch system does not need to see flames before it raises an alert. The optical sensor works detecting the difference between 16,384 shades of the colour grey and has a number of sophisticated mathematical algorithms which can discern the unique characteristics of smoke. This means in many instances it can tell the difference between bushfire smoke, fog, cloud or mist. 

Once bushfire smoke has been detected, the system alerts the Control Room, where further analysis by experienced fire fighters, forestry professionals or fire spotters can determine if the alert is a fire of concern. This analysis minimises the chance of a false alarm being sent to the authorities, and the misallocation of scarce fire fighting resources, saving time and money.

As the sensor has the ability to pinpoint the exact location via topographical data, authorities are given the exact location of the bushfire and can promptly deploy the right resources to extinguish the fire. The information from the sensor also provides vital information about the size of the fire, how fast it is moving and the direction it is travelling.

To achieve this result, FireWatch would use a range of meteorological information as well as the skills and experience of the fire spotters, volunteer fire fighters or forestry professionals operating the system. FireWatch sensors operate in real time, 24 hours a day, every day of the year, both day and night.

Read about the difference between CCTV and the FireWatch BW Optical Sensors.

  • FireWatch Onsite Analysis
  • FireWatch Onsite Analysis







  • FireWatch Control Room
  • FireWatch Control Room







Please click each image above for an enlarged view.