top of page

2TM Regional News

High tech drones for disaster safety

State-of-the-art colourised laser technology has been added to Fire and Rescue NSW’s (FRNSW) fleet of drones, giving firefighters the ability to more accurately identify bush fire threats.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors will help firefighters to better manage fuel loads by mapping bushland density.

“This state-of-the-art technology gives our firefighters a greater understanding of the bush so during a fire they can better protect properties, and during a hazard reduction operation they can more effectively target areas with higher fuel loads,” Ms Cooke said.

“Having lasers fitted to drones in Fire and Rescue NSW’s $5.4 million fleet will give firefighters greater capability to keep our communities safer and stronger throughout this period of increased fire danger.”

The LiDAR sensors produce precise, three-dimensional point data fully integrated with colourised red, green and blue high-resolution imagery by using a laser that shoots up and down to map bushland density.

The new LiDAR technology is a game-changer for the FRNSW drone fleet.

The new technology has been used not only for the bush but also for other disasters like the flooding in Northern NSW seen in 2022, where debris can be detected and measured for disposal.

Ryan Neich, Team Leader of Aviation for Flight Rescue NSW said this is a vast improvement on previous black and white LiDAR technology, allowing Fire and Rescue NSW to be better prepared for fires and post-recovery work, getting communities back to normal sooner.

“The colourised laser gives a better picture of what can be seen with the naked eye but also a visual picture of what can’t be seen with the naked eye, so we will be able to assist other agencies and the community to get back to normal sooner,” he said.

FRNSW Deputy Commissioner Megan Stiffler echoed these improvements, stating the technology will be a real game-changer for FRNSW.

“[To have] a better visual of the product so we can determine what it is takes a lot of the guesswork out of flood recovery operations, leading to a faster and more efficient clean-up,” she said.

“This technology, which can work in any light conditions, day or night, is a real game-changer for Fire and Rescue NSW and significantly increases our aerial firefighting capabilities.”

Drone with LiDAR in action.


bottom of page