Drones, Thermal Imaging Becoming Popular In Fighting Oklahoma Wildfires

Wednesday, April 10th 2019, 7:58 pm
By: Clayton Cummins

Fighting wildfires is no easy task. Thanks to technology, there is a new weapon in the fight. 

There is a growing clientele at American Drones in Moore. First responders are beginning to use drones for many things, including wildfires.

“It can save a life and it can save property, that's what firefighting is all about,” said Darren Hensley, owner of American Drones in Moore. “You've got a drone and a fire truck out there and boom, in five minutes they've got this thing up and they are seeing everything they need to see.”

A camera in the air can see smoke for miles, but it's thermal imaging that's grabbing attention.

“If you've got the right kind of thermal camera, you can tap on the screen and it will show you the exact temperature of what you are looking at on the screen,” said Hensley.

Canadian County Emergency Management has never had an eye in the sky until now. The small drones brought in 2016 are making a huge impact.

“We're looking for potential breaks in the fire and safe ways for our guys to get in and out of,” said Canadian County Emergency Management Director Andrew Skidmore.

“We’re looking for opportunities for alternative attacks on whether we need to use a ground line and get the guys out and start digging trenches,” Skidmore continued.

With technology only improving, the sky is the limit.

“I think the technology is just now getting started,” said Skidmore.

American Drones says they're currently in talks with the Oklahoma City Police Department. Its looking to purchase drones for all its various departments.