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Improved forest fire prevention through high altitude infrared sensors

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Conditions on the perimeter of a forest fire can be obtained by use of airborne remote sensing techniques demonstrated by Ames Research Center. An Ames U-2 high-altitude survey aircraft served as an aerial fire observation system. Equipped with two types of sensors, the U-2 produces real-time infrared images of fireground scenes. Information acquired by the U-2's scanners defines the fire boundary and aids fire management decisions by showing the size, shape and direction of burn and the locations of hot spots in the fire zone. U-2 sends sensor date in digital form to an antenna at Ames Research Center. There the data is computer processed into images which are overlaid on U.S. Geological Survey topographical maps of the fire area. Maps are then transmitted by telecopy machine directly to fire control center. Whole process takes less than 10 minutes and the U-2 can provide information for up to five hours. Ames antenna can pick up signals from the U-2 anywhere within a 300 mile radius from Ames.

Source: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20030002803_2002160105.pdf

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