Application of UAS in Forest Firefighting for Detecting Ignitions and 3D Fuel Volume Estimation

The article presents results from the AF3 project “Advanced Forest Fire Fighting” focused on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)-based 3D surveillance and 3D area mapping using high-resolution photogrammetric methods from multispectral imaging, also taking advantage of the 3D scanning techniques from the SCAN4RECO project. We also present a proprietary embedded sensor system used for the detection of fire ignitions in the forest using near-infrared based scanner with weight and form factors allowing it to be easily deployed on standard commercial micro-UAVs, such as DJI Inspire or Mavic. Results from real-life pilot trials in Greece, Spain, and Israel demonstrated added-value in the use of UAS for precise and reliable detection of forest fires, as well as high-resolution 3D aerial modeling for accurate quantification of human resources and equipment required for firefighting.