Infrared aircraft detects single-tree wildfire

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control posted this video which apparently shows one of the state’s Multi-Mission Aircraft using infrared sensors to detect a single-tree fire. In the brief period of normal (not infrared imagery) there is very little visible smoke.

Pilatus PC-12 “Multi-mission Aircraft”
One of Colorado’s two Pilatus PC-12 “Multi-Mission Aircraft” at McClellan Air Field March 23, 2016. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

3 thoughts on “Infrared aircraft detects single-tree wildfire”

  1. The technology is very impressive, one tree – one fire. What doesn’t make sense is the $10 million spent on 2 aircraft that it took to find one fire in a single tree. What’s the point? Can’t the Forest Rangers you see the smoke coming up? I guess not, they have to put a high tech aircraft in the air to see the smoke. As a tax payer it seems a total waste and misuse of funds, but when your spending other people’s money it doesn’t matter how it’s spent.

    The French use Air Tankers for the above mission and trust their pilots knowledge to do their job the best possible way, with the intent of putting the fire OUT as soon as possible. Not so in the US, totally different philosophies for the same mission. The difference between the two scenario’s is in France the fire would be out soon after being sighted by the Tanker pilot. In the US they have to call Larry, who calls Moe to get Curly to put the fire out. Moral of the story – we all know Curly is the smartest, but has the least amount of $$$!

  2. Ideally you would send a 205A1++ with a bucket and a load of rapellers, or a helitack crew if a LZ is available. But these days I wouldn’t be surprised to see a DC-10.

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