Eliminating Forest Fires with Drones
In Canada, drones play an immense role in ensuring environmental situations remain stabilized and safe. In wildfire situations, this newly adopted technology can help by capturing overhead views in real time, giving visibility right from the outset of the fire. With their ability for quick deployment, drones are saving valuable time, allowing for more rapid action to be taken before situations become unmanageable.
In a CBC article regarding the use of drones in forest fire monitoring in North America, it states that an astrophysicist named Carlton Pennypacker, and his team, are developing a system called the Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit or (FUEGO) for short, a project which began in 2013. The system is being developed to assist with prevention of wildfires and is said to be able to precisely pinpoint the starting point of the fire, and within seconds dispatch air tankers and ground firefighters to the area. These significant time savings could have large impacts towards avoiding the spread of a fire across larger areas of a forest. As scientists have reported forest fires becoming a continually growing problem, it is important that action is taken adopt these new technologies which can aid in improved response.
Pennypacker and his team are using their extensive experience with computers and sensors to detect small rays of light and applying this knowledge, in the same way, to enable drones and satellites to detect small fires from above. The Canadian government is already showing interest in this program, and it is projected to save regions of North America billions of dollars.
While the technology will continue to be slowly adopted over the next five years, many of the technological advances of UAVs and drones are beginning to make an impact today and they start to be introduced as an aid in these types of response situations.