Webinar - Use of RPAS (aka Drones) for Wildfire Mitigation, Operations, Modeling, and Research Directions


Presenters: Jeff Boisvert and Liam Bennett

This webinar is part of the Canada Wildfire Webinars series.

The quantity of data collected from remote sensing, aerial photography, satellite-based sensors, and drones is increasing at exponential rates. Simultaneously, the number of wildland fires and required mitigation/response activities are increasing. Fire managers, planners, and command structures are being fed an increasing amount of data, for an increasing number of incidents, while being promised that this ‘data’ and these ‘models’ can help improve decisions and strategies. This webinar will focus on what data is being collected with drones, how the data is collected, and how we can turn data into useful information with meaningful decision support tools (e.g., plots, software, visualizations, predictions, etc.). Dr. Boisvert and Liam Bennett will discuss: selecting a drone to use at wildland fires; typical uses for drones in wildland fire mitigation and operations; current research towards hazard assessment, structural triage, and fine scale fuel modeling; and difficulties conducting research with drones. This talk will focus on RGB and thermal imagery, but multispectral, hyperspectral, and lidar will be discussed.

Jeff Boisvert (jbb@ualberta.ca) is an associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta, co-director of the Centre for Computational Geostatistics (CCG), and an active paid-on-call firefighter. Jeff’s research includes spatial numerical modeling, uncertainty quantification, data analytics, and machine learning. Jeff is passionate about uncertainty management which focuses on making complex decisions based on limited/uncertain data in a way that maximizes effectiveness/value and minimizes risk/environmental impact. Currently Jeff's group is exploring methods that use remotely sensed data from drones and satellite imagery to improve decision making before and during wildland fires.

Liam Bennett is a Masters student currently studying at the University of Alberta. Graduating with a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering in 2021, his research seeks to develop and integrate techniques for the utilization of remotely sensed data in the field of wildfire management. His team, led by Dr. Jeff Boisvert, explores cutting-edge drone technologies integrated with aerial and satellite data products to detect trees, map fuels, and convert this data into usable and interpretable information for use by wildfire managers in hazard assessments at the community and individual property scales.

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Dec 9, 2022 9:30 am to 11:00 am