Hechingen Fire Brigade deploys DJI drones to control area fires


DJI drones were put through their paces this summer as extreme temperatures hit an all-time high in July.

Rain levels dropped 50% short of the monthly averages, making the need to allocate water resources sparingly and efficiently a critical concern.

In recent weeks, an increasing number of area fires have brought fire brigades to the brink of their operational and tactical limits, putting personnel at risk. German highways have been blocked several times due to nearby fires threatening roadways or thick smoke obscuring visibility.

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“Shrubs, hedges, and grasslands pose an increased risk of ignition, which can easily lead to large area fires,” said Maik Bulach, commander of Hechingen Fire brigade, at a local voluntary unit in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.

On August 4, the Hechingen Fire Brigade was called to a field fire close to a remote, country road, far from any source of water to aid in extinguishing the blaze. By the time crews were able to respond, the fire had already reached the size of 5,000 square meters.

When it comes to field fires there are three main sources of danger which fire brigades analyse when deciding on their operations, tactics, and execution: vegetation characteristics, weather, wind direction, and terrain. All of these factors can be more precisely captured and analysed with the aid of drone based aerial imaging and intel.

After initial tactical planning had been stifled due to the conditions, Commander Bulach deployed DJI’s Matrice 210 ruggedised commercial grade drone, a Zenmuse XT thermal camera, and an X4S high definition imaging camera. This mission operation solution is often used by public safety teams to oversee sites and identify risks.

The DJI M210 drone was used to obtain aerial intelligence on the incident scene. The intel gathered by the drone provided enhanced situational awareness, enabling Commander Bulach and his team to set up an improved operational plan. Firefighters were coordinated purposefully and were able to rapidly contain the fire.

“The biggest advantage came to light during the search for hotspots and extinguishing them. The simultaneous deployment of the XT and X4S provided me with exact information about where to delete the hotspots and how long until we reached a safe state,” Commander Bulach concluded.

Tags : Commercial droneDJIDJI M210dronesZenmuse XT
Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder

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