Case Study

Kincade Fire, 23 October 2019

In the early evening of October 23rd 2019, and in extreme wind conditions no one heard a 230,000-volt power company transmission line fail in Kinkade, California. But the satellite and cameras that monitor the area from up in space and down on the ground, captured the exact moment it happened.

The moment of impact

The explosion occurred at 9.24pm and the fire was detected by the satellite used by Fireball (FUEGO-Space) within 66 seconds. And, using the ALERT Wildfire sensor network, the fire was confirmed within three minutes.

Eyes in the sky fire on the ground

Despite the fact that it was night and the fire was in a canyon and not directly visible to the sensor, the combination of FUEGO-Space and FUEGO-Ground meant that the authorities were able to be notified within three minutes of the eruption.

Early notification meant early response

Emergency Services were then continuously fed real-time image updates by the ALERTWildfire network and this data was invaluable in assisting emergency services in determining the best course of action to take in order to save lives.

In fact, the explosive fire growth was so clear from the data that the evacuation of a town 10 km away was ordered 20 minutes after ignition was reported. Importantly fire apparatus had not yet worked their way into the fire.


Early detection saves lives

The detection, reporting and action that was taken with the Kinkade fire is a drastic improvement to the currently used fire notification procedures.


Dates fire burned

23 October – 6 November 2019

Lives lost


People impacted

2.5-2.8 million

Area burned

77,758 acres

Structures destroyed