New high-tech aircraft is a game-changer in California wildfire fighting | News

State emergency responders unveil new and improved technology to better detect wildfires.

Photo by Cal OES

The state-of-the-art aircraft is called FIRIS. It has infrared cameras and sensors to send real-time images to emergency managers in the field.

Aircraft FIRIS 2

Photo by Cal OES

The California Office of Emergency Services said the early detection system is the first of its kind in the country.

Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) described it as a game changer in reducing loss of life and property.

“As we deploy this FIRIS capability, our partnership with CAL FIRE WILL be critical in our ability to quickly extinguish wildfires, but also all of the other hazards that we see in California,” Ghilarducci said. “His ability to keep firefighters safe, identify the spread of fire, protect lives and property, and deploy resources will be critical in our ability to respond effectively to state-impacting events.”

Aircraft FIRIS 6

Photo by Cal OES

Intel 24 is a King Air fixed-wing multi-engine aircraft equipped with high-definition color and infrared cameras. Sensors can provide key information and projections to firefighters in the field to position their assets more accurately.

Joe Tyler, Director of CAL FIRE said “This collaborative effort between Ca;OES AND CAL FIRE brings this asset into the state mutual aid system, and allows it to be more readily available between the two agencies for l ‘send North, South, East or West.’

The FIRIS program is a new $30 million investment in California’s mutual aid program and will be part of the Governor’s May Review announcement on May 13.

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