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Mapping system to aid bushfire control

A real-time bushfire mapping system will be trialled in South Australia this summer to help reduce devastation and ensure the most efficient deployment of resources.

The FireFlight Technologies system uses an aircraft-mounted thermal imaging sensor, which can detect flames through kilometres of thick, billowing smoke allowing for accurate and rapid tracking of a fire’s path.

The system has already been used with success in Queensland, Tasmania and in Montana and California in the US.

But its use in SA this summer will be the first season-long trial.

“The FireFlight system will deliver real-time fire intelligence to incident controllers, helping them to efficiently deploy resources such as firefighters, fire trucks and firebombers where they are really needed,” chief executive Paul Dare said.

“The fire maps provided by the system will show exactly where the fire is at that moment.

“The maps can be updated on a minute-by-minute basis, enabling the Country Fire Service to monitor the progression of the fire and better understand its behaviour.”

CFS manager state air operations Nik Stanley said the trial would help further develop the technology with the results to be evaluated at the end of this fire danger season by the Fire Behavioural Analysis team.

Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni said the fire mapping system would help protect communities in bushfire prone areas.

“This technology offers the possibility of improving how we respond to and control the threat posed by bushfires, better protecting people and property,” he said.

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