A BC Wildfire helicopter prepares for take off. (Joe Lebeau/Hashmark Photography)

BC Wildfire Service to conduct night vision trials for helicopters in South Okanagan

This technology could assist with future firefighting operations

Trials of equipment that could help suppress wildfires will be conducted near Penticton during the evenings of July 6 and 7.

The BC Wildfire Service will be conducting aerial trials of night vision goggle (NVG) technology to potentially assist with future firefighting operations.

Night vision goggles work by amplifying the available ambient light, making it easier for the wearer to see features that would not otherwise be visible.

These trials will assess the viability of using night vision goggles and helitankers to drop fire suppressant on wildland-urban interface fires at night.

Wildland-urban interface fires are wildfires that occur in areas where grasslands or forests border on urban developments or infrastructure.

READ MORE: Isolation, drug toxicity lead to spike in First Nations overdose deaths amid pandemic: FNHA

BC Wildfire Service is conducting the tests to enhance their knowledge of NVG helitanker protocols, including how night procedures would differ from daytime air operations.

In 2019, night vision technology was tested on three trial flights over the Richter Mountain and Eagle Bluff wildfires. The goggles helped the air crew map these incidents at night and identify hot-spots to assist firefighters on the ground. The upcoming work will expand on the night vision testing that was conducted in 2019.

Last year’s trials were the first of their kind in Canada, and they affirmed that additional trials were warranted to further explore the capabilities of night vision systems to support wildfire suppression activities.

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 future firefighting activities.

The BC Wildfire Service will use two NVG-capable aircrafts for these trials. Multiple helitanker “drops” will be completed in a controlled environment at an established training site with no fires burning. Ground observers stationed outside of the drop zone will evaluate each drop for accuracy and effectiveness.

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.

READ MORE: RCMP investigate bear spray assault outside Penticton pub

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bcwildfire

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon pedestrian struck dies from injuries

Emergency responders are on scene on Main Street near the CIBC, traffic affected

New park ready for play in BX

Vernon-area kids can explore a new playground

UPDATE: Fire near Wood Lake a “smoke chase”

A water bomber reportedly took off from Penticton and is on the way to Lake Country

‘Perfect mother’ celebrates 100 in Vernon

Hamlets resident Ann Prowal marks milestone amid COVID-19 pandemic

Vernon tech entrepreneur up for prestigious award

Promoting diversity in tech sector lands Jill Binder nomination for BraveIT Award

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Kelowna man convicted of not paying taxes after turbulent trial

Man claims he doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘person’ under the federal Income Tax Act

Accused in Kelowna’s 2018 Canada Day killing granted bail more than 1.5 years later

Esa Carriere was stabbed to death during the Canada Day fireworks in downtown Kelowna in 2018

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Two people dead after Highway 1 collision west of Kamloops

Two-vehicle accident closed Trans-Canada Highway for more than five hours

Most Read