We want to take a moment to thank those on the front lines fighting the fires and supporting communities across Australia already affected this fire season. With over 50 fires burning in NSW, a code red bushfire warning issued for parts of Victoria, and temperatures in South Australia surpassing 46C our firefighters are facing catastrophic fire conditions this season.

Can drones be used to protect the safety of our firefighters?

We thought we’d share some insights that we have been gathering from across the world from those who are using drones not only in post-disaster recovery but also to assist firefighters to make better situation awareness assessments in the prevention and management of fires.

For example, in California, USA, the Los Angeles Fire Department believes that drones are essential to fighting fires. When a fire is burning, the team will launch drones into the air to get a better sense of what is happening on the ground. In the past, firefighters had to search for hotspots themselves, and had to trust that they weren’t trapping themselves. Now, the data collected by drones will be used to direct where firefighters and water drops will go.

Similar to Australia’s conditions, California is seeing wildfires that are more powerful and frequent. Officials are increasingly turning to technology to help mitigate the risk and allocate resources.

Once the immediacy of the current situation is at hand let’s hope that more eyes turn to how we can support and resource these services with prevention and mitigation tools.

Following our capture of the 2018 Tathra fires disaster zone, we have continued to work closely with the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) particularly during this catastrophic bushfire season. You can learn more about how BIRDI is helping the ICA to design, develop and integrate drone operations in a safe and scalable manner in post-disaster recovery HERE.