New Tech Expands to Prevent and Manage Wildfires
As the Earth’s climate reaches record breaking heights, forest and wildfires have become increasingly common all over the world. As of September 2020, there are over 27,000 firefighters and support personnel assigned to wildfires. The current 69 fires have burned over 3.7 million acres in North America alone. Fortunately, innovative technology is readily available to alleviate this issue.
Engineers created firefighting robots that have the ability to save human lives. Robots such as Thermite engineered by Howe and Howe Technologies in Maine are helpful in exterminating fires because they can withstand excruciating temperatures. This allows fires to be eliminated in the areas humans can’t reach.
Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Systems are utilized in various industries but are just as critical in countering wildfires. Their small size allows for firefighters to view tight spaces. Additionally, they are capable of being fitted to thermal imaging cameras which are used to view the precise location and extent of the fire’s spread.
Major organizations such as The United States Forest Service have implemented virtual reality in smokejumper training sessions. The VR simulators provide 3D portrayals of the wildfire scenarios, with trainers able to alter features such as speed and wind direction, to prepare smokejumpers for dangerous situations.