Alaska Fire Service Drone Footage: Side by Side with Infrared Showing Firefighters Extinguishing Hot Spot

Please note: Official use of drones on wildfires is approved by fire managers and is coordinated with the Air Operations Director. Public use of drones is not allowed and interferes with operations. If you prefer to watch on the Chalkyitsik Complex YouTube Channel, click here https://youtu.be/V1cAaagc2Ks

Alaska wildland firefighters pioneered the use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, on fires across the country during the summer of 2017 to help provide fire crew support, hot spot detection and mapping. Statewide, the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska owns nearly two dozen of the small, 3D Robotic Solo quadcopters, including the nine allocated to BLM Alaska Fire Service. BLM AFS’s wildland fire suppression partner, Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF), has six. 

Most Alaska-based quadcopters have a GoPro Hero 4 camera that can shoot photos and video, but the UAS can also be equipped with a variety of sensors, including an infrared camera. The infrared camera can be deployed quickly to detect hot spots on sections of the fire. The UAS transmits data to the remote pilot in real time, providing land managers and incident personnel with timely, accurate information needed to make informed decisions. In this video from the Chalkyitsik Complex, the drone operator identifies a spot fire over the intended containment line and hovers while firefighters respond and swiftly extinguish the fire in a matter of seconds.

The Department of the Interior has summed up the benefits of using UAS in four words: science, safety, savings and service. The BLM and other DOI agencies are exploring the use of UAS for mapping fires, vegetation, and rivers; monitoring wildlife; and conducing reclamation and compliance inspections, among other uses. UAS can be operated at a cost substantially lower than manned aircraft. Most importantly, the use of UAS can reduce the risks associated with manned aircraft. The quadcopter costs about $2,000, plus the cost of the sensor and the wages for the pilot and observer required for each flight. Because the quadcopters have the ability to fly low and hover, they can go where planes may not be able to and can be used on missions that may be too risky for manned aircraft.

#ChalkyitsikComplex: The highest priority for all fire personnel is ensuring the protection of the Gwich’in village of Chalkyitsik. Fire crews continue work to secure the line in the vicinity of Ohtig Lake working north along indirect lines. Mop up activities continue between the Draanjik River and Chahalie Lake along with point protection of structures and when possible allotments within the river corridor. Fire crews will support initial attack in the Upper Yukon Zone as requested and several new crews have been arriving to replace crew who have completed their 14 day tours and are heading home to rest and see their families. 

INFO: KZPA 900 AM radio in Fort Yukon is airing information updates about the Chalkyitsik Complex

Info Line: (907) 356-5511

Facebook: facebook.com/BLM_AFS
You Tube: https://bit.ly/2K5TW6h
Web: www.akfireinfo.com

Video credit: Joe Don Morton Alaska Fire Service with edit by PIO Kale Casey AKIMT/BLM AFS Alaska Fire Service/DNR Alaska Division of Forestry.

#chalkyitsikfire #akwildfire #dofwildfire #alaska2019 #chalkyitsik #akimt

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