Many scientific studies have proclaimed the feasibility of using a LIDAR to detect wildfires. As a LIDAR manufacturer with more than a decade of experience, Raymetrics has begun working to turn this scientifically proposed method into a reality using a modified 3D scanning LIDAR.
HOW IT WORKS
The LIDAR works by sending out an eye-safe laser beam to scan the horizon. The laser light bounces off of particles in the atmosphere and some is returned to a telescope. Because the speed of light is known, the distance and direction to the particles can be accurately determined. The properties of the returned light also allow the system to accurately identify particles as smoke as opposed to other aerosols.
LIDAR VS OTHER TECHNIQUES
LIDARs are of particular use in difficult terrain or where false positives are common from other detectors (such as heat detectors). LIDARs detect smoke, meaning they can provide a back-up or confirmation for heat detection systems. Because LIDARs detect the smoke in the air, they can also detect fires which are obstructed by topography.
Each installation covers an area of around 300 sq km. Multiple LIDARs can be used in a network or combined with other techniques to provide protection on a larger scale.