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

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Alf Todd on a mission to fight Parkinson’s disease

Todd and group hope to raise $10,000 riding bikes to Port Alberni

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: B.C. community rallies to save snared eagle

Revelstoke climber scales tree to save the raptor

Most Read