Unmanned Heroes: Drones Transform Wildfire Battles
As darkness enveloped the landscape, Dusty Kavitz was closely watching a fire without flames. Based out of Buffalo, Kavitz serves the U.S. Forest Service and has played an integral part in the battle against the notorious Dixie fire, one of the largest wildfires in the American annals. He was on a mission, seeking hotspots that could potentially reignite the fire with a slight wind shift. Interestingly, he wasn’t present on the scene but was flying an unmanned aerial drone equipped with an infrared vision from afar.
“I walked someone into a fire that they couldn’t see at night,” he disclosed one day in May, standing amidst an array of drones utilized by the Forest Service for wildland firefighting and resource management.
Kavitz, an unmanned aerial systems program manager with the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region, symbolizes a significant shift towards unmanned aviation and sophisticated technology. Over the last decade, such technologies have increasingly…