SAN RAMON, Calif. (KRON) — In San Ramon, the fire protection district has a new drone that they plan to use for more than just fighting fires. The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District has received a new drone which has a 48 megapixel camera, 16x magnification, and thermal imaging.  

The fire district hopes to immediately begin using it to improve their ability to respond to and monitor structure fires and wildfires.

The Alamo Improvement Association was able to secure $60,000 in grant money to purchase and maintain the drone. That includes a grant of more than $21,000 from the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.  

Back in 2018, a grass fire west of Pittsburg in Contra Costa County spread to a large pipeline vault. That incident triggered the evacuation of 1400 homes. In order to bring the fire under control, a drone — capable of heat detection — was used to monitor the vault until the flames were extinguished.  

With more that 800 miles of pipeline spread across Contra Costa County, including a large Kinder Morgan pipeline, fire officials hope to use this new drone to deal with any potential pipeline problems.