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Control measure

Consider using aerial observation

Control measure knowledge

Aircraft can provide aerial observation for wildfires. In the case of undetected firespread an aerial view can provide early warning of spot fires and an early indication of potential ground fires.

Unmanned aircraft can also be used to provide aerial observation for wildfires. However, arrangements should be put in place to monitor the images relayed back to the pilot from the unmanned aircraft.

Refer to Hazard: Inappropriate or uncontrolled use of aircraft for further information about the deployment of aircraft at a wildfire incident.

Further information about working and communicating with aircraft can be found in National Operational Guidance: Transport.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Establish communications between aerial and ground resources (refer to control measure 'Establish communications and manage aircraft')

  • Consider deploying a tactical lookout to a fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter to carry out aerial observation
  • Consider deploying a tactical lookout to accompany the operator of an unmanned aircraft to carry out aerial observation
  • Identify and report any signs of undetected firespread to the incident commander