Alberta flies drones to find cause of epic Canadian wildfire

The Japan Times 

LAC, LA BICHE ALBERTA – Fire-ravaged Alberta will use drones to investigate the cause of a huge blaze that has scorched the Canadian province and displaced some 88,000 people. Elevated Robotic Services, which has also deployed drones for mining and construction companies, has contracts with the Alberta government and insurance broker Hub International Ltd., said Mat Matthews, the Edmonton company's operations and safety manager. The drones use cameras outfitted with infrared, ultraviolet and traditional optical cameras to pinpoint the hottest part of the fire and trace it to its source based on time, wind and other factors. The cameras will shoot about 800 images, which are then stitched together in a process called fire-mapping. "It's like Google Maps but 100 times better," Matthews said at a police roadblock south of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as smoke from the 156,000-hectare (385,000-acre) fire blackened the sky.