Drones helping firefighters find source of Canada’s ‘Costliest Natural Disaster’

canada fire emergencyThe news is filled with stories about people who use drones in ways that endanger lives. It wasn’t long ago that drones kept firefighters from fighting life-threatening blazes in California. But firefighters battling an Alberta firestorm that could prove Canada’s “costliest natural disaster,” according to Business Insider, are looking to drones to help answer the question of how it started — something that is still unknown for this fire that is estimated to take months to extinguish as reported yesterday by Fstoppers.

The fire has already burned over 150,000 hectares and was expected to more than double by yesterday evening. Meanwhile, firefighters hope that drones will help pinpoint the start of the fire to help investigators on the ground understand how it started. While it is unclear exactly how it could help, firefighters hope that finding the cause can help them fight the fire, which has so far shut down approximately half of the country’s oil sands operations, displaced over 80,000 residents, and burned down over 1,600 structures.

As with many new technologies, drones too have the potential to harm but also to greatly aid society in a wide variety of ways. Just last year, a drone circling in the airspace of a firefighting air tanker in California caused the plane to be grounded until the space was cleared. Alternatively, drones have great potential as tools of search and rescue missions.

While other countries are scrambling to create reasonable regulations for drone pilots (including for photographic and filming purposes), the United States Congress is still working on its own policies with regard to small commercial drone use. To read more click here.

The 5th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held at Jupiters Gold Coast, QLD on the 30-31 May 2016. The Conference theme ‘EARTH, FIRE and RAIN’ will continue to examine issues that impact preparedness, resilience, response and capability.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Delegates may also wish to attend the 2016 Australian and New Zealand Search and Rescue Conference (ANZSAR); Land, Sea & Air which will follow the Disaster and Emergency Management Conference on 1st June discussing the issues and challenges in Search and Rescue and continue the support of professional development in new training, techniques and requirements.

Special discount rates are being offered to those that wish to attend both Conferences.