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UBC Researchers to Use Drones to Survey Wildfire Damage

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are using drones to survey the aftermath of the 2017 wildfires in B.C.

Professor in forest resources management and Canada Research Chair in Remote Sensing Nicholas Coop says they are currently testing the use of drones for various forestry applications, including fire burn assessment.

“Drones are a really exceptional technology that we’re starting to use more and more of: we can observe the effect and severity of the fire on each individual tree and use all this information to really understand the general patterns in which fires occur in B.C.,” he said in a media release.

Besides providing basic information, the images acquired from the drones can also be converted into detailed 3D models that provide information on the centimetre scale – a level of detail that cannot be obtained with traditional fire survey methods, such as satellite imagery.

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Coops and his students who are working on a range of sites that address the needs of the forest industry have partnered with B.C based drone company FYBR on the project.

The project will also look at using drones for other forestry applications such as monitoring the regeneration of trees after harvesting, mapping tree locations, determining tree species and assessing tree health as well as mapping the forest floor.

More than 1.2 million hectares-996,000 of which was in the Cariboo Fire Centre was torched in B.C this year because of wildfire.

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