An unmanned aircraft system was used on Monday to put out the a wildfire, which has burned more than 3 square miles north-western corner of Yellowstone National Park and on the Lee Metcalf Wilderness south of Big Sky and was brought under control successfully with the help of this drone according to a report from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Drone used on wildfire in Yellowstone’s northwestern corner https://t.co/xpUtnw3cC2
— Bozeman Chronicle (@bozchron) August 23, 2018
According to fire spokesman Jeff Gildehau, this was the first instance of drone being used on fires in both Yellowstone National Park and the Custer Gallatin National Forest, “It’s definitely a huge advantage in terms of reducing exposure to hazards for firefighters,” Gildehaus said.
The drone’s tasks involved taking photos, mapping the perimeter and taking infrared data to highlight the fire’s hottest spots. All these tasks used to be carried out by by manned aircraft till date, Gildehaus added.
The Department of the Interior contracted Belgrade-based Bridger Aerospace among four other companies to respond on-demand to fires and other emergencies. Bridger Aerospace’s drone called Silent Falcon a fixed-wing craft with an electric motor, about 6 feet (2 meters) long with a wingspan of 14 feet (4 meters), was flown at about 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) during the operation. Its altitude was well above the range in which helicopters normally fly, Gildehaus reported.
Drones make for an ideal tool in tackling situations that expose human relief workers to great risks. Not only do drones provide a better view of the affected area; the hazards involved in direct human intervention are greatly reduced.