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Drones on wild land fires

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1st time Forum user, 30 year wild land firefighter in Okanogan county WA state. Not new to RC flying but new to Drones, 30+ flight hours. Interested in using my P4p on wild land fires. Would love to hear from experienced FF in this area.
 
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Advexure

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A very warm welcome to the forum and thank you for your service to your contingency in WA. Big props and appreciation for what you guys do and we hope to continue to see agencies across the country leverage the technology.

Check out this article on our partners at LAFD using their UAS during the recent Skirball fire just up the road from us: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lafd-drone-skirball-fire-20171214-story.html

Safe flying.
 

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A very warm welcome to the forum and thank you for your service to your contingency in WA. Big props and appreciation for what you guys do and we hope to continue to see agencies across the country leverage the technology.

Check out this article on our partners at LAFD using their UAS during the recent Skirball fire just up the road from us: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lafd-drone-skirball-fire-20171214-story.html

Safe flying.
A very warm welcome to the forum and thank you for your service to your contingency in WA. Big props and appreciation for what you guys do and we hope to continue to see agencies across the country leverage the technology.

Check out this article on our partners at LAFD using their UAS during the recent Skirball fire just up the road from us: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lafd-drone-skirball-fire-20171214-story.html

Safe flying.
Thank you for the welcome, still trying to figure out how to work these forums. I hope to be able to fly on this years wildfires, So many advantages to having a EYE in the sky. Just being able to spot lightning strike areas for fires starts would be a big help for us trying to get initial attack underway.
 

PatM

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I'm not a firefighter, but I am interested in reaching out to our local and seeing about perhaps setting up a program. I'm curious @CLE photos , is this
something you're doing on your own initiative, or is your department involved?
 

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I am doing it on my own right now, I am a volunteer FF for a rural FD. Also i am the first drone business in my county and drones on fires have been a no no.
I am working on finding out all the in and outs of doing it. I have a few ideas on the use on fires and want to see what other folks experience are. I know CA and MT are using drones on fires.
 

PatM

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Ah okay good to know, I've heard that our county is putting a budget in place this year for UAV programs in Fire and Police.
 

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Thats a good thing they are thinking about it, I Have not heard anything from our county folks yet, but hopefully I can help them along with the process.
Its winter time here snow, on the ground, good time to plan next fire season out.
 

rvrrat14

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I”ve reached out to our local PD and FD. After a few months, I have a meeting pending with them. I was a past Asst. Chief in the local FD many years ago. Good way to get in with them is stop by, give them a card, and tell them Let me know if I can help.
 

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Well good luck, let us know how it goes and what you learned, IMO FF safety is the most important. Small local volunteer fire districts can use this technology to help them with minimal costs. I know its going to take time to get us integrated into the FF services. Just the way it is.
 
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skemcis

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I was wondering when this subject would come to life. I was a WLFF in British Columbia from 1959 till 2003. I have long been interested in using drones to help in formulating Initial Attack response. It seems to me that a trained operator on each IA crew could identify problems as they arise. The guys on the ground can only cover so much area, and when the fire reaches a rank 2 and above, planning becomes a knee jerk reaction. That's when aerial support is asked for. Thoughts?
 
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yes indeed your experience shows, Wow 1959)) didn't they beat out flames with wet gunny sacks and pine bows back then? You have seen a lot of changes. So much can be learned from an aerial camera on fires and be able to move with the FFs. and help protect lives. I am interested in IA also since that is my main FF duties and being a lookout. Good hearing from you, I am in Okanogan county and am well aware of B.C. fires.
 

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I am a new member of one of our Volunteer bush fire bragade over here in Western Australia.
There has been a lot of media stuff going round about drone operators flying (illegally) near bushfires. And I totally agree that inexperienced pilots will make it dangerous for aircraft and firemen on the ground.
But I am also of the opion that drones could be invaluable tools for fighting bush, grass and other fires. Because with them we could determine how big the fire is, which direction it is traveling in and with certain drones, be able to see where the most heat is and then use this info to position appliances in the best and most effective places. And also potentially increase the saftey of firemen of the ground by giving them live and very accurate infomation about the fires behavior.
 

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Well welcome. is it fire season for you? A new volunteer FF? well good for you, you are with a group of volunteer FF worldwide that give thousands of hours FREE to fight fires. Learn all you can. be safe, remember situational awareness )))

How are your UAVS rules on wild-land fires there?
 

ArrUnTuS

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What cameras to use and for what? RGB Camera, thermal camera and in what situations?

From ignorance I would like to know that you who have experience, how you would use drones and in what situations.

The use of drones in forest fires must be regulated above all so as not to endanger aircraft that are extinguishing the fire. They should be guided from the command centre, which is where there is information on where the helicopters and aircraft are operating.
 

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For recon during daylight hours, I think the normal cam @ 4K would be more than ample. Good resolution. I would also think a hand held air band radio would be needed to monitor and communicate with airborne assets. We have many forest fires where I live and helos/fixed wing are usually around.
 

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A fire fighter here will be in communication with ops, IC,fire chief and will know when air ops is going on. I know lots of what ifs, but i know it all can be worked out, Crap one drone today has more computing power then the moon landings.

We have situations where heavy smoke will cover half the state, no AC flying then, Use a UAV, with thermo gear into areas you don't send FF, check fire lines, hot spots, etc.
Or lightning strikes and cant reach it easily, send in the drone.

So many uses, so few drones((((

I have not flown on a fire yet, just to be clear. I live where i can fly my fire district and can see what would help out. Still learning, that's why this forum is so nice.
 

Firedrone

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Thanks! The Brigade I am with is really good and train new Firefighters really well. But you are always learning! And situational awareness is a vital key to fighting fires.
CASA (our equivalent of US FAA) does not seem to have any hard set rules, but just says to keep away from fires.

I totally agree with @CLE photos when it comes to how drones should be operated when being used around fires.
In a safe manner with the IC in overall control
 
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CLE photos

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I know this using UAVs on fires is a relative new concept and is not accepted as standard practice yet. I think its the wave of the future tho and will become common practice, hopefully soon.

Its a no brainier that much more "SITUATIONAL AWARENESS" there will be with a UAV safely in the air.

As far as UAV and other AC on the fire, Its quite simple, UAVs don't fly during air ops. Since the UAV operator will be with a visual observer, like a lookout, they will know when air ops in going on. Staying clear of manned aircraft is already a requirement for part 107 pilots.


Well hopefully some decisions or rule making gets done soon to allow us to employ the latest technology in wild land fires this year.

For you out on fires be safe, Wild land fires will humble you,
 

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I'm not sure how it will work in Oregon but here in North Carolina, if it's a large enough fire to the USFS to come in they will ground all (thus far no exceptions in my area) sUAS even if responding with an authorized agency. We flew on a fire last year when it was still "local" and as soon as USFS came on they put a halt to our air ops. Of course some things have changed since that one (it was early spring 2017) and they are more "Drone Friendly" now but only time will tell if they allow us to "integrate" with them.
 

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