Wildfires are getting worse. Can new technology make us safer

Authorities Pin Large Hope on Technologies to Fight Wildfires

The reasons for wildfires can be varied but the devastation and loss they bring is massive. The recent case in point is the wildfires in California in 2018. They burnt thousands of acres of lands, killed scores of people, and led hundreds of people homeless. The repercussions are uglier causing community-wide upheaval. Recently, concerned authorities have pinning large hopes on technology to contain the devastation.

Monitoring Technology can Give First Responders and Firefighters Time

The most basic technology underlying the whole system to track and identify directions of the spread of flames is cameras. Hundreds of cameras that authorities put atop mountains and towers help them point out the wildfire in advance. This may help people get time—the most crucial thing when the fire rages toward you. Most importantly, firefighters and first responders can thus pool down resources or plan evaluations to fight the devastation. Concerted efforts have been made to this end.

ALERTWildfire, a network of three universities, provides access to hundreds of cameras to help the prospective affected fight the menace of raging fire. The remote-controlled cameras are state-of-the-art ones, claims the network. According to Dr. Graham M. Kent, one who operated ALERTWildfire, cameras that they deployed helped in a recent wildfire buy time of at least 30 minutes. Unarguably, in the time of fast expanding fire, this means a lot. Places such as Nevada, Idaho, and Oregon have reaped the benefits.

Many More Technologies are Coming Forward, But Operational Perspective Crucial

Many networks such as this have leveraged the potential of cameras with drone, planes, and satellites to monitor the wildfire. And, they have been successful to an extent. The most hidden, but in no way insignificant, hurdle in utilizing technology to fight wildfire is operational viability. People using the technologies may not be skilled enough or plainly may lose trust in the technologies themselves. Further, the technologies may fail due to various reasons but this doesn’t mean that they are per se futile. So firefighters cannot throw caution to the wind while relying on the technologies.

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