Fire officials using new drone technology to fight Woodbury Fire



nearly 50% contained but a long battle ahead in the Superstition wilderness the Woodbury fire has been burning for weeks but firefighters are finally gaining their footing part of those efforts can be attributed to a new program tonight we're getting a look at how drones are giving our first responders eyes where they need it most ABC 15s Cameron polum joins us to explain how they're being used from identifying hotspots like these to coordinating tactical strike points drones once thought to be low tech toys are now high tech tools in the fight against wild fires gum man Romeo 3-1 is in Division tango preparing for us operation the airspace is clear the launch underway high above the burned out landscape hovers the newest team member of the fire service one of the the great things about the IMT and the southwest region is that they've been pretty Pro UAS for good reason the unmanned aircraft system has three main capabilities and they all center around keeping those on the ground out of harm's way whizzing through canyons and other cramped spaces while gliding low enough to capture high-resolution footage before we hike a crew down in there give them all the information that we can before they before they leave the trucks infrared cameras peer through smoke sensors can detect hotspots in wind direction if flames erupt near a crew escape routes can be communicated immediately areas that might have jumped the line a spot fire you can get some extremely accurate and very quick perimeter data they can even be used to initiate back burns intentional fires set to clear defensible spaces it's done by dropping small ping-pong balls filled with chemicals that ignite a few seconds after hitting the ground so if we want to make this road a little a little more secure then we'll burn off the road to make that containment line a little wider in the near future these drones could be as common a tool as a hose line I hope that this tool is just like the chainsaw you're gonna have the EMT that carries the first-aid kit the Sawyer that carries the chainsaw and the UAS pilot that carries the UAF the fire service tells me the drone program is in its infancy and expects its use and its fleet to explode in growth in the coming years I'm polum abc15 Arizona

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