SAN DIEGO, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Use of an MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft to help contain a recent wildfire in California is being touted by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
The Predator drone, operated by a California Air National Guard unit, used its electro-optical/infrared full-motion video to identify wildfire activity and the direction of fires around Yosemite National Park and to transmit the images in real time to firefighting personnel.
"Predator's life-saving capabilities aided in expanding the firefighters' situational awareness, enabling them to fight the rim fire effectively and safely while also uncovering critical safe routes for retreat," said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI.
"Predator enables incident commanders to view any area of a wildfire, day or night, and efficiently vector firefighting resources to protect lives and mitigate property losses."
The fires last month burned a quarter-million acres around the park.
The use of MQ-1 was approved by the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.