• Christine Querido Thaagaard

We’re experiencing extreme wildfire seasons, so why isn’t the firefighting industry moving to adapt

Three weeks ago, Robotto and others highlighted the urgent and worrying UN Rapid Response Assessment (read it here) The core of the information in the report was not new, as it reiterated the correlation between wildfires and climate change. What the report did underline was how close wildfires and climate change influence one another.


The assessment outlined just how toxic and dangerous the relationship between wildfires and climate change is. As wildfires rage, they emit high levels of CO2 into the atmosphere, which in turn contribute to rising temperatures. Rising temperatures then contribute to an increase in the number and ferocity of wildfires worldwide.


WE KNOW THE PROBLEM

Images of wildfires, tired firefighters, and scorched earth fill the airwaves and our social media feeds increasingly. As do posts pointing to how dangerously close we have come to the point of no return, as the arctic and Antarctic have begun to experience extreme temperatures.

We all agree this is a dangerous path we are on, but what can we do about it? How can we accelerate drastic changes to how we do business?


At Robotto we know that our software has the ability to drastically change the projection of wildfires. Quality wildfire information provided in real-time puts firefighters on the offensive, allowing them to get control over the flames before they rage out of control.



The question is, what hesitations do fire departments have when it comes to implementing new, innovative technology?


HESITATIONS

Firefighting is a traditional profession with deep ties to its history. This connection to history inspires these heroes to come to our aid when we're in need, but it also can make implementing new technology a slow process.


In recent history, some departments have implemented drone programs. This implementation process is too slow, especially when compared to the problem at hand. In a Facebook group dedicated to firefighting drones, members noted how it took them anywhere between seven to one and a half months to get their program up and running. This wide range may indicate how far we have come in accepting drones as a part of firefighting,


The question of software remains, as many drone teams have opted to either rely on human observes and calculation or to use simple mapping software (this includes lag time.) While these programs are vastly better (in terms of safety and allocation of surveillance resources) they do not solve the issue: how can we implement innovative technology to ensure control over wildfires in order to lower emissions?


So why isn’t the industry moving faster?





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