FUEGO: a satellite system for rapid location of wildfires.
Combining imaging, computation, software modeling, and satellite hosting systems with firefighting methods may enable cost-effective detection and monitoring of wildland fires in their first few minutes.
An unchecked wildfire in the Southern California mountains can result in burning more than 100,000 acres of valuable watershed land, threatening lives and property, and costing more than $500 million in fire suppression and damage. Current wildfire detection systems are efficient, but lack sensitivity and rapid response times. Fires that start at the interface of wild and developed lands are often reported randomly by the nearest person, or they may occur out of the line of sight. Furthermore, there is often insufficient monitoring of recently extinguished wildfires, which may lead to new ignitions.
Figure 1. Artist’s concept of the Fire Urgency Estimator on Geosynchronous Orbit (FUEGO) operating during a fire alert. (Art by R. E. Lafever, Space Sciences Laboratory.)