The dangerous and enormous Rim Fire on the western boundary of Yosemite National Park is finally slowing and fire officials believe they will have containment in the near future. One of the factors in getting a handle on such a large fire (on Cal Fire’s list of the 20 largest wildfires in the state since 1932) is the use of a California Air National Guard drone.
According to CALFire PIO Daniel Berlant, “the drone is providing data directly back to the incident commander, allowing him to make quick decisions about which resources to deploy and where.”
The drone is being flown by the 163rd Wing of the California National Guard at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside and is operating from Victorville Airport, both in Southern California. It generally is being flow over unpopulated areas on its 300-mile flight to the Rim Fire. Outside the fire area, it is escorted by a manned aircraft. CalFire notes that the use of the drone is limited to that of photo recon. The giant blaze, has now consumed 192,737 acres, or 301 square miles.