Quebec wildfires: help from space to fight the flames

Well-mounted satellites hundreds of kilometers in space are analyzing the composition of wildfires raging across Quebec to help authorities fight the flames more effectively.

“It really allows you to have the most up-to-date information to make the best decisions when it’s time to fight a fire,” explains Jay Obih, Chief Program Officer – Space Utilization, at the Canadian Space Agency.

The images captured by the various satellites are transmitted daily to the organization’s partners, such as SOPFEU or Civil Security, as needed.

This provides visual information about a specific area. But they also provide data about soil moisture, wind direction, type of vegetation in the area, and so on.

Guy Opie, Senior Program Officer - Space Utilization, Canadian Space Agency.

Canadian Space Agency

Guy Opie, Senior Program Officer – Space Use, Canadian Space Agency.

By identifying hotspots, one can somewhat predict a fire’s growth in a given direction and its rate of expansion.

“The power of these tools is based on the fact that we can get data on a local, regional, regional and continental scale,” specifies Mr. Obi, emphasizing the impact of fires on America.

Fireguard mission

In addition to this wildfire management system, the Canadian Space Agency is developing a new satellite: Gardefeu.

The device, equipped with advanced technology, is scheduled to be launched in 2029 and its mission will last for 5 years. It will improve the current satellite ‘view’, especially during the afternoon and evening when no image is available.

Satellite imagery dated June 5th showing the extent of the bushfire ravaged area on the North Shore.

Canadian Space Agency

Satellite imagery dated June 5th showing the extent of the bushfire ravaged area on the North Shore.

“It will allow us to better monitor the energy emitted by the lights in order to better regulate terrestrial processes,” says Jay Obih.

Every year, Canada spends close to $1 billion fighting wildfires. The Fort McMurray disaster in 2016 cost nearly $9 billion, and is the costliest natural disaster in the country’s history.

See also  Floros: The former communal hall in Lampesart has become a "space for citizens"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *