Monday 13 July 2015

Drones Could Help Snuff Out Future Wildfires

We all are living in the era of technology and we all are aware about the fact that each technology has its own pros and cons. However; in recent weeks we have seen the use of drones to monitor wildfires.

In last week of June 2015, emergency workers were fuming after drones in California, when it was flown by hobbyists and it get disrupted in firefighting efforts at southern portion of the state. According to reports, the drones were hovering at 11,000 feet in air which is much above than the legal 400 foot altitude limit and it forced DC-10 airplane to turn from the drop point which was loaded with 11,000 gallons of flame retardant. Apart from this DC-10 airplane, two other planes which were heading for same target also forced to abort their mission because of drone interface.

According to Los Angeles Times, this disruption was responsible for mission failure and it allowed the fire to spread which cost the loss between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000. But still researchers and tech experts are hoping that in future these frustrating firefighters can help and play a vital role in the prevention of wildfires. A team of researcher from University of California Berkeley has developed the system which uses drones, satellites and airplanes to detect the wildfires in particular region.

In search of flames: 

The system about which researchers are talking is known as the FUEGO (the Fire Urgency Estimation from Geosynchronous Orbit). This technology is useful to study supernovas in space and, at those points when they back towards the Earth. To start all this process satellites need to get the powerful infrared cameras with a purpose to monitor the patches of land in California or any other region.

Through cameras drones will be able to click the photos (in the wavelength of light which emitted by fires and are invisible for the naked eyes to) to send back it on the ground where land managers will able to track that particular geographical region. Additionally, airplanes and drones are equipped with infrared cameras which patrol fire-prone region to paint the higher resolution image about the risk of fire.

If drones will spot the fire, so soon they will come into action and provide real-time feedback about the nature and area of fire. It is expected that this technology will be helpful in night when aerial tankers will be grounded, so there should be someone to assist in mop-up operations to make sure that every ember is snuffed out from sky.

Is it concept? 

No, because according to researcher when this technology will be fully functional, so system will be able to detect and analyze even small fire in just two to five minutes. According to Carl Pennypacker, who is Astrophysicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory and lead coordinator of the project, “In next few years we will launch the entire system as currently we don’t have satellite for that.”

However; currently team is testing drones which could sent the information about hot zones and can provide high quality images which could help in the development of fire prevention strategy.

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