August 10th, 2015

The DRONE REPORT: Only Drones Can Stop Forest Fires?

Drone-Blog-fireby Drone Reporter Nicole Pieretti

One word: Fuego. No, not the catchy club song by Pitbull but rather quite different—something that could save lives. Wildfire season started early this summer in California, and people were ready for a tough season especially with the ongoing drought. A group of researchers came up with the idea to use drones mounted with infrared cameras to identify early locations of fires. They are calling it Fuego.

The drones will be able to spot emerging wildfires three minutes after they start. Of course, this operation will take several years to be put into motion but it could result in saving lives and controlling the wildfire epidemic.

Check out this link to five drone technologies that have been helping watch for fires and other natural disasters.

What happens when a drone makes the fire worse? Doesn’t seem like it could right? Wrong. Drones have recently become an additional threat to the spreading of California wildfires. A four-foot drone shut down all operations over the Lake Fire last Wednesday evening. Another 3.5 square miles were burned as a result.

The San Bernadino County commissioners explained, ““Low-flying air tankers cannot share the sky with drones because the small aircraft can be sucked into jet engines, causing the engines to fail and the planes to crash.” A second drone was spotted the same evening by a firefighter pilot. They are upset and concerned that they have to worry about drones while trying to fight off massive forest fires.

Hopefully in the years to come drones will be aiding in the fight against California wildfires and not making them worse. Drones have the ability to do great things for us in the future but it begs the question— is it all just a facade?