Jun 11, 2014 12:03 AM by Maddie Garrett

Using Infrared Technology to Study Fires, Prepare Public

Critical technology is helping firefighters not only on their every day calls, but preparing for another major fire event like the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires. It's infrared technology, and a video being released by the Colorado Springs Fire Department shows just how it can be a tool to not only train firefighters, but protect the public.

The video starts out with a smokey view of the Waldo Canyon Fire, while there's fire burning, no flames can be seen. This was captured on a regular video camera.

Then it switches to the Infrared technology known as Short Wave Infrared, or SWIR. Suddenly flames and embers come to life behind the cloud of smoke.

"It really allows us to see embers and fire growth," said CSFD Fire Captain Steve Oswald.

The video is narrated by a CSFD member, pointing out the "millions and millions of embers that are given off." This kind of technology is extremely helpful when fighting fires.

"To see where the hot flank or where the hot bed of fire is so we can set up operational tactics," explained Oswald.

This video of the Waldo Canyon Fire is also being used to train firefighters for future events.

"On how the fire is going to react and certain types of fuels," said Oswald.

The infrared video shows just how important it is to clear away brush at the base of tall trees, called ladder fuels.

The narrator points out one example where you can literally see the fire climb a tree from the ground up using ladder fuels. It's fully engulfed at the crown in only 13 seconds.



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