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May/June 2023 | Nontethelelo Ramantswana

Precision firefighting using Drone Amplified technology

Fire management

Fire protection

Drone Amplified has combined tested and proven technology with cutting edge innovations in software and hardware to provide safe, affordable and effective ways to enhance fire management efforts to protect life and environment in fire events. Firefighting is a dangerous and high-risk activity in any circumstance, especially in difficult terrain and poor visibility. Hence, unmanned aerial system (UAS) drone carrying IGNIS system is essential for fire management operations. Drones are not meant to replace manned aircraft (e.g. fixed wing aircraft and helicopters) but to fill the gaps and supplement existing aircraft resources especially during fire season.

What is it?
Unmanned Aerial system (UAS) drone carrying IGNIS system is a technology used for safe aerial ignition of a low intensity fire. This system uses a Plastic Sphere Dispensing system (PSD) to introduce fire without the exposure and risk to fire crews. It is a useful precision tool, where conventional manned aircraft are hindered. This reduces the high-risk exposure of pilots to dangerous conditions and is essential when poor visibility hinders manned aircraft. Furthermore, the system provides aerial access in inaccessible terrain. The IGNIS technology helps drive efficiency in control burns or prescribed fires.

How it works?
(i) Aerial fire assessment
At times where it is unsafe to operate a manned aerial aircraft, due to poor visibility at night or in thick smoke the drone Amplified cameras provide situational information for the ground crews to make decisions. UAS has sensor cameras with a combination of thermal and visual cameras. The system provides imagery details with superior image quality and provides live feed infrared during low visibility and night operations. Efficient visibility of up to 8 kilometres away.

(ii) Ping-pong-ball-sized spheres
Drone Amplified comes with IGNIS dispenser which has a hopper that holds plastic spheres containing potassium permanganate chemical powder. Plastic spheres get forced down and injected with an antifreeze coolant. Once dropped on the ground, after 30 to 60 seconds they get a combustion reaction thereby starting a backing fire which is a healthy fire with less heat and less chances of crowned fire. IGNIS dispenser has a Geo-fence that prevents the drone from dropping plastic spheres outside the specified area.

Other interesting information
• Availability for fire operation- day and nighttime
• IGNIS Payload – up to 450 balls
• IGNIS Payload drop – drops 450 balls under 4 minutes

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