U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton of Colorado says drones could be used to fight fires. Here is an excerpt from an article in The DAily Sentinel:
..Drones could be equipped with fire suppression equipment that could be used on small, remote fires, limiting the growth of the blazes and possibly circumventing the need to call in firefighters, Tipton said.
Firefighters could “see a fire start up, send in a drone and maybe stamp it out,” Tipton said.
The vehicles would have to be modified to deliver retardant and will need to withstand heat, Tipton said.
Drones also could be used to provide better information to firefighters on the ground, especially in smoky areas that limit visibility and inhibit radio transmissions, he said…
There is little doubt that drones could be used on fires. Lockheed Martin and K-Max demonstrated that in October when an optionally-piloted K-Max helicopter hauled cargo to a designated spot and dropped water on a simulated fire. As of October, 2013 two unmanned K-Max helicopters had flown more than 1,000 missions in Afghanistan and hauled more than 3 million pounds of cargo that would have otherwise been transported by trucks, which are vulnerable to roadside bomb attacks. One goal is to save lives by reducing Marines’ exposure to improvised explosive devices on cargo convoys.
The biggest issue for using unmanned aircraft on fires is getting the FAA and land managers to address the issue of safely incorporating the systems into the fire aviation environment.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bean.