US: Researchers from University of California, Berkeley have designed a fire-spotting satellite that could help detect forest fires before they get out of control. The satellite—the Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit (FUEGO)—would use state-of-the-art sensors and an analysis software to snap pictures of the ground every few seconds in search of hot spots that could be wildfires. This would allow firefighters to be directed to these hot spots, possibly preventing fires from growing out of control. Just one satellite would be able to monitor the entire western US, researchers said.
“If we had information on the location of fires when they were smaller, then we could take appropriate actions quicker and more easily, including preparing for evacuation,” said fire expert Scott Stephens, a UC Berkeley associate professor of environmental science, policy and management. “Wildfires would be smaller in scale if you could detect them before they got too big, like less than an acre,” he added.
The satellite hasn’t been built, but researchers estimate that it could be built by either government or private entities for several hundred million dollars.
Source: Malibu Times