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Hunting Zombie Fires with Wildfire Drone Technology

Hunting Zombie Fires with Wildfire Drone Technology

More than half a year has passed since the final days of summer, carrying over the remnants of 2023's catastrophic wildfires into the winter of 2024, with threats of resurgence looming. Regions such as Alberta have already marked the commencement of the forest fire season, prompting the early deployment of the Candrone wildfire drone service team. You'll be surprised about our findings below.

Understanding "Zombie Fires":

"Zombie" or holdover fires refer to underground blazes that consume organic matter beneath the surface, smoldering through the winter. These fires can reignite in spring when conditions become drier, often burning undetected due to their smokeless and flameless nature.

zombie fire

Origins of Zombie Fires:

Often a result of lightning strikes, large-scale fires, or those in areas with dry underbrush from previous summer months, these fires persist. The Northeastern B.C. region's continued drought conditions and significantly lower snowpack levels than in 2023 exacerbate the risk of such fires.


Locating Zombie Fires:

As of February 2024, BC Wildfire Services reports 92 active fires in British Columbia. Detection efforts involve patrols under favorable weather conditions, utilizing ground and aerial surveillance to identify signs of smoke or heat, with air patrols employing thermal imaging technology to spot heat signatures.

The Proactive Approach:

forest fire drone

In mid-February, our team ventured out on a "zombie hunting" mission on a cold evening with temperatures hovering around –5Β°C (23Β°F). Upon our arrival at the target location, which initially exhibited no signs of activity, it became clear that our meticulous preparation had paid off.

wildfire drone

Employing the DJI Matrice 350 RTK equipped with a Zenmuse H20T camera, we were fully equipped to detect and swiftly report any potential threats.


Thermal imaging revealed numerous hotspots, indicating active underground fires. With over 50 hotspots identified over an area exceeding 1.5 kilometers, our skilled team mapped and inspected the site in less than an hour, showcasing the effectiveness of advanced technology in wildfire detection and prevention.

Check out the 3 top drones used for wildfire management in 2024:

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