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Sensors, Vol. 16, Pages 1310: Airborne Optical and Thermal Remote Sensing for Wildfire Detection and Monitoring


For decades detection and monitoring of forest and other wildland fires has relied heavily on aircraft (and satellites). Technical advances and improved affordability of both sensors and sensor platforms promise to revolutionize the way aircraft detect, monitor and help suppress wildfires. Sensor systems like hyperspectral cameras, image intensifiers and thermal cameras that have previously been limited in use due to cost or technology considerations are now becoming widely available and affordable. Similarly, new airborne sensor platforms, particularly small, unmanned aircraft or drones, are enabling new applications for airborne fire sensing. In this review we outline the state of the art in direct, semi-automated and automated fire detection from both manned and unmanned aerial platforms. We discuss the operational constraints and opportunities provided by these sensor systems including a discussion of the objective evaluation of these systems in a realistic context.