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Time is ripe for fire detection satellite, say Berkeley scientists
22 October 2013
As firefighters emerge from another record wildfire season in the Western United States, University of California, Berkeley, scientists say it's time to give them a 21st century tool: a fire-spotting satellite.
Such a satellite could view the Western states almost continuously, snapping pictures of the ground every few seconds in search of hot spots that could be newly ignited wildfires. Firefighting resources could then be directed to these spots in hopes of preventing the fires from growing out of control and threatening lives and property.
The UC Berkeley scientists have designed such a satellite using state-of-the-art sensors, written analysis software to minimise false alarms, and even given it a name - the Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit (FUEGO). They're hopeful it can be built for several hundred million dollars, either by government or private entities.