How Technology is Helping in the Fight Against Wildfires

One of the many growing threats facing us today due to climate change is that of the wildfire. In California especially, there have been record-setting fires that at best are displacing scores of residents and at worst are claiming their lives. Military technology is now being used in the fight against these deadly wildfires, and equipment that was previously used to track and handle terrorist threats is now being used to put out wildfires or even stop them before they happen.

Fight against wildfires
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Record-Setting Fires

In California alone, wildfires there are setting records and advancing more rapidly than ever before. This is due in large part to climate change, and authorities are finding that they’re needing to augment their existing strategies with more effective ones. The recent Valley Fire claimed the lives of four people and destroyed close to 2,000 structures in three counties in Northern California. Along with the cost of life, claims from these recent catastrophes could reach the $1.1 billion mark.

Cutting Edge Technology

Authorities are now making use of technologies such as heat-seeking or thermal imaging cameras, night-vision goggles, and even firefighting drones to help coordinate efforts and handle wildfires quickly and efficiently. Satellite trackers are even being used to accurately locate firefighters and give them real-time data to target locations that need the most attention.

Not only are fire crews on the ground being managed more effectively, but air tankers are sent into the sky to put out the wildfires from above as well. This technology was already available to the military for years, but it’s just now being repurposed in the fight against these dangerous and costly wildfires.

Aircraft for wildfires
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Taking the Flight to the Fire

One of the most effective weapons in the war against wildfires is a special camera that can see a wildfire from a distance of 10 miles and be mounted on basically any type of aircraft that’s needed for the job, whether military or civilian. When the specter of potential damages is factored into the equation, most states consider the investment into such tools as a pocket change in terms of the impact on the state budget. As these growing technologies continue to perform at a high level, more and more states are rolling them out in their fight against wildfires.

Fighting Even at Night

There is a variety of reasons why flights get grounded when they’re needed the most. In particular, smoke can obscure flight patterns and conditions can be too dark. To combat this, authorities are making use of advanced tracking technologies as well as night-vision goggles to ensure that personnel can fight fires no matter what the flight conditions might be like. This way, more lives, and structures can be saved.

The Problem Continues to Spread

These wildfires are especially common in California and nearby locations, but they’re even spreading to areas of Canada and other locations which typically would not be affected by wildfires. As the threat of climate change increases, these wildfires will, unfortunately, become a much more common sight. Luckily, though, there are resources being used by authorities to properly handle these situations before they get out of hand.

Wildfire image
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As climate change continues to threaten residents, structures, and the land itself, authorities are stepping up their fight to ensure that these wildfires are handled in a quick and efficient way. Tactics and equipment will no doubt need to be updated and revamped as time goes on and the situation develops, but as of now, it seems that the authorities are treating the wildfire problem with the seriousness that it deserves. By employing technology and equipment typically only seen in use by the military, authorities are taking the fight to the fire and ensuring that fewer lives are taken, fewer properties are destroyed, and less of the land is damaged.

As this is an ongoing situation, more information will no doubt become available in the future, and it will be possible to further track the use of these technologies in the fight against wildfires going forward. From simple solutions like a state-of-the-art wildfire hose to more advanced tools like drones, as technology continues to help in the battle against these deadly and dangerous wildfires, all hope has not been extinguished just yet.

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