BC Wildfire Service testing night vision technology in Penticton

Fighting fire with night vision

BC Wildfire Service will be carrying out aerial trials of their night vision goggle (NVG) technology near Penticton to see if it could help future firefighting operations.

The tests will evaluate the use of night vision goggles and helitankers to drop fire suppressant on wildfires at night. The BC Wildfire Service used this technology in 2019, and these trials will be building on last year's testing.

"The tests will increase the BC Wildfire Service's knowledge of NVG helitanker protocols, including how night procedures would differ from daytime air operations," says the province's wildfire service. "If the results are positive and the BC Wildfire Service believes the program is worth pursuing, these trials will help guide decisions about how to incorporate this technology into the BC Wildfire Service's firefighting activities."

The tests will happen July 6 and 7 using two helitankers. Multiple simulated drops in a controlled environment will be carried out at a designated training site with no fires burning.

"Ground observers stationed outside of the drop zone will evaluate each drop for accuracy and effectiveness," says BC Wildfire Service. "Any challenges identified on the first day of the trial will allow the test team to make adjustments and modify its approach on the second day."

The 2019 NVG testing consisted of three flights over the Richter Mountain and Eagle Bluff wildfires, and BC Wildfire Service says the technology helped air crews map the fires at night and identify hotspots to assist firefighters on the ground.

More Penticton News