Abstract Title

Implementation of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to Provide Close-Air Support to Wildland Firefighters as they Battle the Blaze Directly

Faculty Mentor Name

Jacob Zwick

Format Preference

Poster

Abstract

Wildfires are one of nature’s most devastating forces, destroying anything in their path. Prescott, Arizona knows this all too well due to the horrific incident that occurred on June 30, 2013. The Granite Mountain Hotshots, based in Prescott, were fighting a wildfire in Yarnell when the unthinkable happened. The crew of twenty were battling the blaze when weather conditions shifted causing the wildfire to engulf the Hotshots. Nineteen Hotshots lost their lives that day. Brendan McDonough, the sole survivor, was the lookout that day and was far enough away to escape with his life. Currently, there are larger fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that aide with mapping of wildland fires, but they fly at high altitudes and can’t provide immediate support if needed. The overarching goal of this project is to develop a UAV than can handle the harsh conditions of wildland fires in order to provide close air support to the Hotshots who are on the ground fighting the wildland fires directly. The UAV will have the capability to actively 3D map a larger site with the use of UV and IR cameras, actively track people and vehicles for increased situational awareness, and act as a communication relay to improve communication between ground crew and command elements. These capabilities will give the UAV the means to provide vital support to help prevent conditions that lead to the incident that occurred in June of 2013.

Ignite Grant Award

Location

AC1-ATRIUM

Start Date

3-31-2017 11:00 AM

End Date

3-31-2017 3:00 PM

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Mar 31st, 11:00 AM Mar 31st, 3:00 PM

Implementation of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to Provide Close-Air Support to Wildland Firefighters as they Battle the Blaze Directly

AC1-ATRIUM

Wildfires are one of nature’s most devastating forces, destroying anything in their path. Prescott, Arizona knows this all too well due to the horrific incident that occurred on June 30, 2013. The Granite Mountain Hotshots, based in Prescott, were fighting a wildfire in Yarnell when the unthinkable happened. The crew of twenty were battling the blaze when weather conditions shifted causing the wildfire to engulf the Hotshots. Nineteen Hotshots lost their lives that day. Brendan McDonough, the sole survivor, was the lookout that day and was far enough away to escape with his life. Currently, there are larger fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that aide with mapping of wildland fires, but they fly at high altitudes and can’t provide immediate support if needed. The overarching goal of this project is to develop a UAV than can handle the harsh conditions of wildland fires in order to provide close air support to the Hotshots who are on the ground fighting the wildland fires directly. The UAV will have the capability to actively 3D map a larger site with the use of UV and IR cameras, actively track people and vehicles for increased situational awareness, and act as a communication relay to improve communication between ground crew and command elements. These capabilities will give the UAV the means to provide vital support to help prevent conditions that lead to the incident that occurred in June of 2013.

Ignite Grant Award