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November 11, 2016 Previous day Next day

I watched an interesting demonstration of drones used to spot fires and assist during search and rescue operations during a wildfire.  A variety of unmanned aircraft that could be used in a variety of ways were demonstrated on November 8th and 9th at Griffiss International Airpost in Oneida County city of Rome, New York.  This airstrip is a designated FAA test airport for unmanned aircraft.


According to the article, Syracuse to host drone industry convention,The use of drones is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years because of their many potential uses, including search and rescue, disaster relief, media, inspection of rail and power lines, mail and freight transport, and crop surveillance. 

However, a major challenge to the industry is the development of systems to safely integrate drones into the nation's airspace. Unlike manned aircraft, drones do not have a pilot to watch out for other aircraft.
  Specialized radar systems must be used to track many types of unmanned aircraft.

The Unmanned Traffic Management (UMT) Convention provided training and workshops such as; Control, Payload, Collision Avoidance, and Low-Altitude Traffic Management: Spectrum Considerations, The Future of Industry Innovation to Enable UTM and more.


There were demonstrations of a variety of drones that could be utilized by Fire Departments to assist with difficult and dangerous operations now being carried out by manned aircraft including; spotting fires, dropping retardants and water on fires as well as assisting in search and rescues during wildfire events.  The future of drone applications for wildfire use may help wildland firefighters be safer in the future.

How do you get in the habit year after year of continuing to work on creating Firewise© homes and communities?  We have seen that one key to growing successful participation in wildfire mitigation activities is by having fun working together.  Communities have shared with us that Firewise activities provide the impetus for the community to continue to work together for a common cause of making their homes safer from wildfire.  As Flowery Trail Community Association shares below, “Firewise has become a habit.”


Flowery Trail Community Association at Spokane, Washington

Flowery Trail organized a three-day fuel reduction event in their community for Firewise Day. From June 20-22, 110 neighbors worked together for three full days of yard and neighborhood clean-up, disposing of slash through chipping and burning. Trees, brush, and other vegetative fuels were removed from the community, reducing the wildfire risk to homes and people.


Flowery Trail says, “To Flowery Trail Community Association, Firewise is much more than getting prepared to increase the chances of surviving a wildfire. Firewise is also bringing the community together to work toward the same goal, getting everyone prepared for the wildfire that will someday pay us a visit. Firewise is also building lifelong friendships, working as a team on fuel reduction projects, taking the time to have a community potluck lunch, and to sit around after a work day, and enjoy a beverage with all of your friends.  Firewise has become a habit, something you do year after year, after year.”

Picture submitted by the Flowery Trails Community

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