On April 4th, a massive wildfire broke out in the forests around the Chernobyl exclusion zone, almost exactly 34 years after the meltdown of reactor four in April 1986. A fleet of 10 unmanned aircraft including two DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drones were deployed to help fight the wildfires. Insights gained from thermal drone imagery helped firefighters extinguish the fire that posed a threat to local communities.
Two DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drones helped put out Chernobyl wildfire
Hailey Peng writes for DJI Enterprise that:
The situation was critical. More than 1000 response personnel, 120 firetrucks, several helicopters and planes battled the blazes and contained the fires within 10 days1, preventing the fire from spreading to either the defunct nuclear plant or other facilities in the area.
On April 14th, the fires were completely extinguished. Background radiation in the exclusion zone remains within normal limits and is not increasing, according to the Ukrainian National Emergencies Service.
It helped us work faster, smarter. The captured [drone] data helped responsible personnel make decisions to change the direction of ground teams deployment, and even correct manned aircrafts deployment.” commented Alexander Sirota, Chairman of the Public Council at the State Agency of Ukraine for the Management of the Exclusion Zone.
Plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky as blazes ripped through over 40,000 hectares of the forests surrounding the exclusion zone. This was when the drones’ thermal function became critical assets for the response teams.
“It was impossible to get a visual view with such dense smoke, but we needed to get on top of the situation, clear and fast. We had 2 Mavic 2 Enterprise Duals. The thermal cameras gave my team the eyes to see through the smoke.” said Sirota, adding that the compact drone with dual sensors (visual and thermal) could be almost instantly flown in the air when taken out of the box.
“Drones are the must-have tool to fight wildfires, and thermal imagery is especially important.” he commented, “We’ve used drones to monitor wildfires for years, and after working with M2ED and seeing the thermal, it seemed that I was blind for the whole time before.”
DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drones let firefighters see through the dense smoke while extinguishing wildfire close Chernobyl exclusion zone. Video from @DJIEnterprise @DJIGlobal #dronesforgood pic.twitter.com/1c5oq5HT0X
— DroneXL (@DroneXL1) April 24, 2020
Photo: courtesy of DJI