An interesting read on the merits of UAV (drone) technology in the battle against wildfires. Sadly, the media often has focused on the pitfalls of UAV hobbyists grounding aerial attacks on fires, however, there’s also the upside of the industry that has joined the battle. This from KUOW… The National Park Service used a borrowed surveillance dronethis past week over the long-burning Paradise Fire in Olympic National Park. The Boeing Company’s unmanned aircraft subsidiary Insitu provided the drone and two professional pilots at no charge for a demonstration. The nearly 50-pound, catapult-launchedScanEagle plane flew on six days — both day and night.
Note: It’s not the first time ever, though. In 2013, the California National Guard provided a larger Predator B platform to perform nighttime infrared mapping of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park. Fixed-wing drones have also been used previously at remote wildfires in Alaska. In all cases, the drone operators had to wait for the Federal Aviation Administration to grant a temporary waiver and certificate specifying the safety measures and operating conditions applicable to the incident.
A short video was created that shows the effectiveness of the ScanEagle on the Paradise Fire. The video can be viewed at, https://youtu.be/VdVaL4eHJts.
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