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UAS Notes & Lessons from the June 2017 Luera TREX

link DOWNLOAD FILE: report

Mike Fontenot, with Greg Berin and Steve Schopper

The spring 2017 Luera TREX was designed to conduct up to 10,000 acres of prescribed fire on New Mexico State Trust Land southwest of Magdalena, NM, while providing wildland fire training opportunities. Through a presentation with the Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network, the authors of this document were invited to attend this TREX, with the specific goal of using Unmanned Aircraft to facilitate the Operations Section during the incident. A 'Drone Module' was add to the Type 3 organization.

Almost 70 hours of flight time was accumulated over the course of a week, with many practical missions and scenarios executed. This document is a summary of those lessons learned. Firefighters help firefighters: currently there is a dearth of real experience on this topic in the fire community. "We have all heard from industry about the practical uses of UAS technology, but the reality is that almost no vendors have any real experience in wildland fire operational use of UAS. We currently believe the best way to acquire this experience is at the departmental level. Federal agencies are limited in their ability to innovate quickly due to policy and organization structural limitations. Many federal agencies are stretched thin financially and UAS is not an operational priority. This group, by providing a solid operational and policy base at our department level, and buy-in from our department for this Luera TREX activity, were able to mobilize quickly and efficiently."

Document Contents

Videos & Photos
Unmanned Aircraft & Software
Organizational / ICS Notes
Logistics & Equipment Notes
Missions Suitable for Small UAS
Thermal / FLIR Use – DJI XT Thermal Camera on Inspire 1
Missions Not Successful with Small UAS
Limitation of UAS Themselves, and FAA Regulations
Q & A of Incident Personnel
Flight-Specific Notes