Infrared, drones among tools used to fight wildfires

May 28, 2013

As another dry and dangerous summer begins, Arizona’s response to wildfires is likely to include some high-tech elements. 

In the past, fire teams have used overnight infrared flights to find out how big a wildfire is, and how much of it is contained.

But now, daytime infrared flights provide much faster information.

Carrie Dennett is the fire prevention officer for Arizona State Forestry. She said daytime infrared is especially useful when fighting a fire that’s threatening an urban area.

“It can just circle over the fires in fifteen minute increments and shoot down a new perimeter, so that gives us a huge advantage in being able to plan our strategy for fighting that fire," Dennett said.

The infrared flights are one of many tools to help keep wildfires at bay. A few years ago, NASA used an unmanned aerial vehicle to track fires — better known as a drone.

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