Fighting Fire with Technology

Fighting Fire with Technology

Drone Amplified has built a drone to fight fire with fire. The drones  drop ping-pong sized spheres that ignite when they hit the ground. This safely burns the vegetation on the forest floor and deprives incoming wildfires of fuel. Rather than flying a helicopter into unsafe conditions, the drone is operated remotely for a safer method of controlling approaching wildfires.

As fire seasons grow longer, and the effects more devastating, the world is turning to digital transformation as the solution. Technologies like drones, digital twins, artificial intelligence, and IoT are both safe and effective tools to fight off wildfires as they form. 

Detection and prevention are the two top use cases for forest fire technology at the moment, with companies all over the world joining the fight. 


One way for wildfires to start is through a powerline coming into contact with vegetation. Fugro, a Dutch company specializing in geological data, has created a digital twin to model a powerline network and prevent wildfires from occurring. Using aerial lidar and imagery, the company creates a digital replica of powerline networks and the vegetation surrounding them. It even records the condition of powerline poles in case of any potential issues. Using this technology, power companies can assess the potential for a fire to ignite along their network before a serious disaster occurs. 

Descartes Labs

Descartes Labs is a Santa Fe based company that uses artificial intelligence for quicker wildfire response. Its artificial intelligence model continuously analyzes satellite imagery for the presence of smoke and uses infrared to detect areas of high heat. It can detect fires as small as 10 acres in even the most remote locations. So far 6,200 wildfires have been detected by Descartes Labs in a much more efficient manner than lookout towers and planes. The technology pinpoints the exact location and offers a much faster response for fire fighters to get to the scene. 

Dryad Networks

A German start-up, named Dryad Networks, has developed an Internet of Things (IoT) device to detect wildfires in under 60 minutes. Instead of cameras or satellite imagery, Dryad attaches IoT enabled sensors on trees to detect smoke, temperature, air pressure, and humidity. The sensors are solar powered for long term use in remote areas. When artificial intelligence detects a potential fire, the proper authorities are notified so it can be dealt with before it spreads. 


Cyber physical systems open a world of opportunities for fighting and managing wildfires. At A4 Systems, we have a world-class team of cyber physical system product developers who focus on capturing data and turning it into actionable information.