Patonga Fire north of Sydney

The video above shows a Aircrane helicopter scooping water and then dropping on a wildfire north of Sydney, New South Wales. As the aircraft flew over the ocean it lowered a pipe into the water with a scoop on the end, forcing about 2,500 gallons into its tank.

Below we see infrared video of the fire shot from a NSW Rural Fire Service aircraft, apparently in the early stages when the blaze was much smaller.

Firefighters busy in New South Wales

Above: Photo of the Lone Pine fire at Port Stephens. The fire crossed the Pacific Highway near Tarean Road and was moving east toward Scotts Road. New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

Numerous wildfires have been keeping firefighters in New South Wales busy for the last several days.

fire map NSW
November 5, 2016 U.S. time. 52 bush and grass fires burning across NSW, with 17 yet to be contained. The Lone Pine Fire (Port Stephens) closed the Pacific Highway again, mainly due to smoke.

This video has some great shots of some of the activity:

North American air tankers under contract during the Australian summer, Coulson’s Tanker 132, an L-382G, and 10 Tanker’s T-910, a DC-10, have been used extensively over the last three days.

As you can see below, the infrared mapping system the Aussies use provides an excellent image showing the location and intensity of a fire.

infrared fire NSW
This is a infrared linescan image of the Lone Pine fire that is currently burning north of Karuah. New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

Fire and Rescue New South Wales acquires additional technolgy

Fire and Rescue New South Wales Fire (FRNSW) recently introduced to the Australian public examples of a multi-million-dollar batch of new technological devices they have added to the firefighters’ tool box.FRNSW drone

Drones are the latest weapon in the fight against fire, chemical spills and natural disasters, providing firefighters with real-time images of areas too dangerous to access and enabling rapid damage assessments. Two new drones are part of this new package, which also includes two custom-built mobile command centers and the installation of more than 180 mobile data terminals in fire trucks across NSW. FRNSW drone

Below is an excerpt from an article at Mashable:

The two mobile command centres feature radio and video feeds, as well as communication services such as high-speed satellite and 4G. The mobile data terminals will give firefighters access to weather data and local hydrant, gas and electricity maps as they head to incidents.

The drones, paired with six trained firefighters to operate them, will give response crews a view of the emergency site from above, whether during a fire, flood or chemical spill.

“Each vehicle has high speed internet and a 100-meter Wi-Fi bubble which could be invaluable to communities cut off from technology following a catastrophic fire or storm event,” Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said in the statement.

“This new technology improves the information available for first responders and will ensure that we remain a world class fire, rescue and hazmat service.”

FRNSW mobile command

Animated wildfire smoke forecast

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service in Australia sent this interesting tweet today — an animated wildfire smoke forecast. I have not seen this distributed to the public in the United States.

After you start the video and click on the arrows at the bottom-right, it will fill the screen and you can almost read the names of the geographic features. So obviously it needs a better background map (and maybe fewer wind direction arrows that clutter the image) but it has potential for keeping the public informed about wildfire smoke.