Predator drone being used on Rim Fire

MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft
MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle

The California National Guard is operating a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle over the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park. The MQ-1 Predator is streaming real-time video down to the Incident Command Post and reportedly alerted firefighters to a flare-up they otherwise would not have immediately seen.

This is not the first time that a large Predator-type drone has been used to collect real-time imagery of wildland fires. In 2008 and again in 2009 NASA made available their Ikhana Predator B UAV.

Here is an excerpt from the StarTribune with more information about the current use of the National Guard’s Predator:

…While unmanned aircraft have mapped past fires, use of the Predator will be the longest sustained mission by a drone in California to broadcast information to firefighters in real time.

The plane, the size of a small Cessna, will remain over the burn zone for up to 22 hours at a time, allowing fire commanders to monitor fire activity, determine the fire’s direction of movement, the extent of containment and confirm new fires ignited by lightning or flying embers.

The drone is being flown by the 163rd Wing of the California National Guard at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside and is operating from Victorville Airport, both in Southern California. It generally flew over unpopulated areas on its 300-mile flight to the Rim Fire. Outside the fire area it will be escorted by a manned aircraft.

Officials were careful to point out the images are being used only to aid in the effort to contain the fire.

Wildfire Today has more information about the Rim Fire at Yosemite National Park that is updated daily with maps and current information.

2 thoughts on “Predator drone being used on Rim Fire”

    1. Date Set for Drone Hunting Vote in Deer Trail Colorado

      “DEER TRAIL, Colo. (CBS4)- A date has been set for voters in Deer Trail to decide of people can shoot down aerial drones. The vote is scheduled for Oct. 8.

      Supporters of the measure think the small town which boasts a population of 548 located about 50 miles east of Denver along Interstate 70, should sell hunting licenses to shoot down drones.

      Deer Trail Mayor Frank Fields believes it will bring in tourists who want to shoot drones for sport. At least 150 people have signed up to buy the $25 drone hunting licenses.

      If the ordinance passes, Deer Trail also plans to host drone shooting events and may even pay a bounty for drones that are shot down. Others worry about an influx of people with guns around town. The Federal Aviation Administration warns firing at drones could bring charges.”

      What could go wrong?

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