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Insitu’s ScanEagle Joins Eagle Creek Fire Attack

An Insitu flight crew deploys a ScanEagle unmanned aircraft from Bingen Point Sunday night for a reconnaissance mission in support of firefighters battling the 33,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire. (Insitu Photos)


An Insitu flight crew deploys a ScanEagle unmanned aircraft from Bingen Point Sunday night for a reconnaissance mission in support of firefighters battling the 33,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire. (Insitu Photos)



By ELAINE BAKKE

The Enterprise

ebakke@whitesalmonenterprise.com

Sunday night, Insitu launched its ScanEagle unmanned aircraft from Bingen Point into a gloomy, smoke-filled sky.

The flight, which ran into the late morning hours, provided emergency responders on the ground with infrared aerial imagery in support of their efforts to control and contain the Eagle Creek Fire.

The fire, which began Sept. 2, has spread to more than 33,000 acres in the Columbia Gorge Region.

“Our thoughts are with our friends and neighbors who are being impacted by this unfortunate event. We stand prepared to assist local authorities with ongoing operations in any way we can, and extend our gratitude to all those working hard to contain the fire,” said Charles Evans, senior manager of Insitu Commercial Aviation.

ScanEagle launched at 10 p.m., and remained in flight for eight hours. During that time, it covered the entire fire line and the perimeter of the fire. The aircraft carried an infrared camera (IR) and provided IR imagery of the expanding fire line as well as several hot spot investigations.

The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) was up to 7,000 feet.

ScanEagle flew one operation to scan the fire line parameter, as well as multiple hotspot investigations, delivering more than six hours of infrared video in real time to Fire Incident Command personnel.

Insitu’s motion imagery software provided enhanced video and georegistration capabilities that enabled fire officials to pinpoint the fire’s perimeter, identify areas of intense heat, and assess infrastructure affected by the event.

ScanEagle also was used in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

• Between Aug. 30 and Sept. 6 Insitu conducted multiple Scan-Eagle flights over various disaster sites in Corpus Christi and Hou-ston. These flights were the result of requests from government agencies to provide aerial imagery to support ongoing disaster relief efforts.

• In Corpus Christi, Insitu logged four flights over three days. The aircraft conducted damage assessment and captured EO and IR imagery of the Bay of Corpus Chris-ti. The data captured contributed to the reopening of the Port of Corpus Christi.

• Insitu was then called to areas outside of Houston to conduct further operations in support of search and rescue efforts and to conduct further damage assessment.

Insitu is prepared to assist the U.S. government with ongoing op-erations, if needed.

“Both of these disasters are cause for Insitu to act — we are there to help and it is our hope that the information ScanEagle provides in Texas and in the Gorge helps emergency responders in their ongoing efforts,” Evans said.



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