B.C. Wildfire testing night vision technology in Penticton - InfoNews

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B.C. Wildfire testing night vision technology in Penticton

A view through night vision goggles taken during trials by the B.C. Wildfire Service last year during the Eagle Bluff wildfire near Oliver.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / B.C. Wildfire Service
July 06, 2020 - 5:30 PM

The B.C. Wildfire Service is hoping to develop new firefighting tactics and strategies as it conducts night vision exercises in the Penticton area this week.

The wildfire service says it will conduct helicopter aerial trials in the Penticton area this evening, July 6, and tomorrow evening using night vision goggle technology it began testing last year.

The trials involve using night vision to conduct water drops by helicopter. If successful, the wildfire service would use the technology to expand helicopter fire suppression efforts on urban interface fires into nighttime hours.

Fire information officer Taylor Colman says the trials will take place east of Penticton above Carmi using two night vision goggle capable helicopters after dark.

Night vision testing began last year, with three trial flights over the Richter Mountain and Eagle Bluff wildfires. They were the first of their kind in Canada. The goggles assisted crew’s efforts in mapping the fires at night in addition to identifying hotspots on the ground.

The wildfire service intends to use the two night vision capable helicopters during the Penticton trials this week to make multiple tanker ‘drops’ in a controlled environment the established training site.

Tonight's testing will be observed and any issues identified, so adjustments and modifications can be made in time for tomorrow night.

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