Insitu was recently awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to provide fire suppression services with its ScanEagle small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) within the contiguous 48 states and Alaska.
Insitu will support man and unmanned aerial operations during wildfires, including search and rescue missions, emergency management and other operations as needed, according to a news release.
“We are honored that Insitu has been selected to bring our professional aviation, aerial data collection and analysis experience to assist the DOI as they strive to suppress devastating wildfires,” Insitu’s President and CEO Esina Alic said, according to the release.
The ScanEagle features infrared and electro-optic cameras, sensors and a customized TK-5 Firewatch smart tactical mapping payload. The drone can provide near real-time fire line maps and high-resolution imagery that helps emergency personnel better plan where to send resources. The system can operate in dense smoke and at night, when manned aircraft typically have to stay grounded.
Insitu responded to the nearly 50,000-acre wildfire in Eagle Creek, Oregon, last year as well as two wildfires in Northern California. The ScanEagle was able to deliver situational awareness data to incident commanders, helping them to more safely and effectively deploy firefighters. Decision-makers received near real-time full motion video and geospatial mapping to help them pinpoint hot spots and locate fire lines.