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Air Observer Tech Helps Local Firefighting Effort

January 29, 2024 6:52 am in by
The CFS responded to a fire in Belair National Park on Tuesday 23 January. Photo: SA CFS

The new capabilities of the SA Country Fire Service’s expanded aviation fleet have been put to work, with the new live streaming camera used during last Tuesday’s fire in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

The Air Observer Machine has a live streaming camera that provides the CFS with access to high definition imagery, augmented reality mapping to display road and track names, infrared penetration of smoke to detect the location of the fire edge and hot spot detection.

Infrared technology allows the CFS to look through the smoke and pinpoint the exact location of the fire front, flanks and any remaining hot spots. Photo: CFS
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Chief Officer Brett Loughlin AFSM said this new capability greatly improves the CFS’s ability to make better informed strategic decisions based on the conditions, fire behaviour and potential infrastructure under threat.

“Having access to this technology is phenomenal, helping us provide greater protection to South Australians,” Chief Officer Loughlin said.

“Augmented reality mapping is another tool which provides our Senior Operations Officers with exact locations and data that can show exactly where the fire is, so they can better predict where the fire could be in the coming hours.”

State Air Resources Coordinator Nik Stanley said the infrared capabilities were used to confirm if the Belair Fire had spread.

“Using the camera’s infrared technology to search for hot spots we were able to confirm the fire had been contained and no spot fires had spread into the thick scrub surrounding the area,” Nik Stanley said.

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The aircraft is based in the Mount Lofty Ranges at the Claremont Airbase but can be flown to any location across the state when required, such as utilised for hot spot detection on the Mt Benson and Avenue Range fires in the Lower South East, and Danggali Conservation Park, in late December 2023.

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