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High tech tools helping stop wildfires in Colorado

Unmanned fire surveillance plane
Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 09, 2021

COLORADO — Year after year wildfires in Colorado prove that boots on the ground firefighters and water remain essential firefighting tools. They are now, however, getting a major assist from technology. “As technology improves we're trying to integrate that into firefighting more and more,” said Multi Mission Aircraft, Mission System Operator, Danell Doyle. Technology can offer strategic real-time information in the midst of a firefight.

Colorado’s state fire agency has a department doing research and development of high tech firefighting tools. Garrett Seddon is an Unmanned System Project Manager, “In the state of Colorado we always look for ways technology can help us do our job safely and more efficiently.”

Tools like thermal and infrared sensors on aircraft and unmanned aircraft track the direction of fires, find hotspots, and map terrain. Smaller drones can be carried to the fire-line and launched for an aerial assessment of where firefighters are working. Large drones equipped with a hopper can drop fire-starter for mitigation and create backburns at working fires. Information from the air and the ground is taking firefighting in Colorado to a new level of strategy. “Really help improve our operations and the safety of our wildland firefighters and protecting the citizens of Colorado,” said Seddon.