Canada may launch satellite to monitor wildfires

Screengrab from the Canadian Space Agency video below.

The Canadian Space Agency is considering launching a satellite that would monitor wildfires. The “WildFireSat” (WFS) would not detect them, but would monitor fire characteristics and emissions in support of international requirements for carbon reporting. The satellite would help to determine which sensors and frequency bands are most useful. Eventually this could develop into a constellation of satellites providing real-time coverage of wildfires not only in Canada but across the planet.

Below is an excerpt from the Notice of Proposed Procurement:

…It should be emphasized that WFS represents a wildfire monitoring capability and not a wildfire detection capability. A key mission objective of WFS is to monitor accurately the radiated power from wildfires to infer their characteristics and be able to improve fire management practices and report on carbon emission. The mission would confirm that the current selection of frequency bands and algorithms is adequate to retrieve fire characteristics with the desired accuracy.

As such, the WFS mission will serve as a stepping stone to accomplish the long-term objective of establishing a new, potentially commercial, fully operational 24/7 service in the future. WFS could help prepare the user community in Canada and possibly abroad, and thus create the customer-base that would be needed for a future global operational data service to be commercially viable.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Canada may launch satellite to monitor wildfires”

  1. Those trees looked pretty green.

    The fire appeared quite happy to burn them.

    I got my first introduction to this during a small controlled burn near a small live cedar tree in 2016. The live cedar tree didn’t just catch fire. It burned quite enthusiastically.

    I have a similar experience doing tests with branches from live Doug Fir trees. They like to burn too !

    I don’t like cutting down living trees. Among other things, they contribute to property value.

    I find that live Pine Trees and Madrone trees are quite resistant to burning. From occasions when I put them in an active fire & they simply did not burn. Even after an hour exposure, in the case of the Madrone tree.

    What do you folks observe ?


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