With fire season set to begin, the U.S. Forest Service is arming itself with a high tech tool born in a NASA laboratory. ABC7 News in San Francisco, Calif., climbed on board a one-of-a-kind airplane, a Cessna Citation 550, that’s helping to save homes and lives.
The U.S. Forest Service has a lot of airplanes, but only one jet. And the view from that jet is something spectacular. You won’t see these multicolored mountains out the window of the airplane. You’ll see them through a NASA-designed infrared sensor on the bottom, when it’s looking at this.
“We fly over the larger fires and give a perimeter map, so they have eyes on it in the morning so they can plan for the day,” said Dan Johnson, one of the pilots who fly in the dead of night, taking thermal images of the biggest wildfires in the West.
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Photo by NASA