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Why BC isn't using 'breakthrough' night vision technology to fight wildfires

BC Wildfire Service says it will not use "groundbreaking" night vision technology for aerial firefighting. This is because, despite Alberta Wildfire's successful deployment of new technology this season, it has not had time to train its crew.

"Before we start using it in the field, we need to make sure there are proper procedures in place and that they are well understood by everyone," said B.C. WildFire Services Aviation Preparedness. Officer Bryce Moreira said.

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I am fully aware of what is happening at night.

The technology, approved by Transport Canada, involves trained pilots wearing night vision goggles, a light sensing gauge, a spotlight, and a 900 It involves flying a special helicopter with a liter tank.

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Global News also spoke with several BC states. Firefighters were frustrated by the lack of use of this technology in fighting the Keremeos Creek wildfire, believing it would have greatly helped contain the fire. Global News agreed not to identify them because they say speaking out reverberates in their professional roles.

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The B.C. Wildfire Service successfully tested the technology two years ago, Wildfire had its first tests earlier this year in June, but it was Alberta who was able to put it into production just a few weeks later.

"It's a good addition to our toolbox," said Melissa of Alberta his Wildfire story, adding that the new equipment will allow approximately 12 hours in the air from evening to night. Added fire extinguishing ability.

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On May 3, 2018, BC Air Ambulance helicopters made night vision technology available.

"So giving us the ability to light a fire for 24 hours only helps the suppression effort and makes it much faster." 54}

So far, she said, Alberta Wildfire has operated with a dedicated helicopter, two trained pilots, and four sets of night vision goggles.

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BC The Wildifre Service said the main reason for its failure to train its crew on the introduction of new technology was the busy mountain conditions of the past year, including when the village of Lytton burned, two years after obtaining the seal of approval. He said it was due to the fire season. on the ground.

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We are in rehab We focused and made sure our crew and staff on the ground were prepared for the upcoming fire season," Moreira said.

Opposition leader Kevin Falcon said it was "frustrating" to see Alberta Wildfire use the technology. A company named Talon Helicopters will do the work.

"This is a game changer in Alberta and they have this equipment from British Columbia," Falcon said.

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“We have the technology, we have the most trained pilots in the world, we don't use them in BC, but we have them in Alberta. It doesn't make much sense."

BC The Wildfire Service says it continues to work with BC. Based in airlines, it researches the best ways to successfully integrate night vision flight into its operations.

It adds that there is no clear timeline for when that will happen, but when it does, Moreira says it will start with wildfire detection, not wildfire suppression.

"One of the main focuses of night vision technology is detection," he said.

"Because the sooner we can find these wildfires, the sooner we can send crews to them, and the sooner we can get information from the scene to the fire department, we can take advantage of it."

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