WatchDuty App/website

There is a new grassroots organization of homeowners in the North Bay of CA (Sonoma, Napa, and Lake Counties) that have tech backgrounds that have started a non-profit and developed an app & website to provide the public with immediate information/intel on fires in these three counties.

I came across it last night during the flurry of 10 new starts in our County and was extremely impressed. I can see this catching on quickly to other counties. There is no charge, fees, advertising associated with the app, it is strictly public emergency information.

Watch Duty - Map of current fire information

About Watch Duty

Disclaimer I am not affiliated nor do I know anyone involved with this project. I just happened upon it last night and thought it would be useful to others.

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It reminds me a lot of this forum, users posting direct direct radio traffic, except one has to be granted a login to post on WatchDuty. While we all appreciate the knowledge and information here in incidents (Ops Maps, KML’s, Cameras, detailed weather, incidents predictions etc) I would love to see the app stay simple with radio traffic and general information only. I don’t know how it will handle a large scale incident with the updates and finding previous updates, only time will tell with that. Overall I think it’s a great app and I am wondering how one is granted access to post to the incident feed (They call it “Citizen Information Officers”). I think the push notification integration and update notifications are great too.

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Here is their inquiry email address feedback@watchduty.org

Yes, I’m not sure how they vet the intel they post but maybe that’s why not just anyone can post info that will be pushed out. I see WildFire Intel as a much more robust and a much deeper dive into the deep end of the wildfire situation we are currently experiencing. Also the General Discussion area is invaluable here and would not be a feature of “Watch Duty” I would be looking for, for fear it would turn into the “NextDoor” of useless uneducated banter about Wildland firefighting.

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Just downloaded the app (iOS)

Its a clean and easy to use app with good UI.
And it has nice push notifications. I will give it a try.

From the APP
“Our team includes skilled radio operators ,firefighters, and citizen information officers”

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This sounds pretty awesome, as long as proper context is conveyed with the radio traffic, either by implied experience like here, or added on by some of us who do this in the social media world, Facebook groups etc.

What I see often missed in those groups that have a scanner, got lucky finding the frequencies to program, and regurgitating what they hear to the general population, is the background/context of how to digest the information. I see on FB someone convey “1/4 acre rapid rate of spread” and then 50 replies panicking about evacuation. Before “fire contained to 1 acre” etc.

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Yes agreed @norcalscan , it would be very easy for a lay person to read too much into one radio transmission without having some context added. I have used the app for only a couple of days now and so far what I have seen has been positive. I think the fact that they do not let anyone post and that they have a core group of folks that can post is a step in the right direction. I contacted one of their developers/founders and they do have firefighters in their volunteer staff that post/vet information.

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