The massive wildfire raging on Alaska’s Kenai Penninsula is now being monitored by an ScanEagle UAV.
This aircraft can fly at altitudes up to 22,000 feet, and can remain airborne for up to 20 hours, recording video with two different cameras: one infrared, which shows the contrast of cool areas and heat areas, and a regular visual camera. The video is then analyzed and given to fire officials to determine their next actions.
It was an exercise in the applications of unmanned aircraft in public safety, officials said, and in maneuvering new regulations still early in their evolution. "It really got some of the key people understanding that we can really help," said Ro Bailey, deputy director of the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration. "It's not a toy or something like that. It's actually something that can improve their ability to do a job."