WHEN HEAT SETS FIELDS ON FIRE

How the Hechingen Fire Brigade Uses DJI Drones to Control Area Fires

The sun reigned over Germany for a relentless 305 hours during the month of July, representing a 30% increase above monthly averages in what has become a record-breaking summer, coming in as the fifth hottest month on record in Germany.

As extreme temperatures hit an all-time high in July, so has the risk of field fires. Making matters worse, rain levels dropping 50% short of the monthly averages has made the need to allocate water resources sparingly and efficiently a critical concern. With some areas of Germany experiencing only five liters of rainfall per square meter, the spread of field fires has pushed local fire brigades to their limits and tested their abilities to effectively preserve public safety while maintaining the safety of emergency responders on the ground.

While departments have done their best to inform the public on how to best prevent fires – the German Forest Fire Danger Index has risen to 4 and 5 ratings (out of 5) for 85% of Germany – forcing local fire brigades to look toward implementing innovative ways to identify and contain “hotspots.” Farmland with unharvested grain, forests, moors, and meadows reduced to parched brown scrub over large areas are extremely vulnerable to spontaneous combustion.

The majority of the country has reached a critical fire danger level as 85% of Germany experiences high risk of forest and field fires

In recent weeks, an increasing number of area fires have brought fire brigades to the brink of their operational and tactical limits, putting personnel at risk. German highways have been blocked several times due to nearby fires threatening roadways or thick smoke obscuring visibility.

“Shrubs, hedges, and grasslands pose an increased risk of ignition, which can easily lead to large area fires,” says Maik Bulach, Commander of Hechingen Fire brigade, at a local voluntary unit in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.

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Photo credits: DJI