3DR surveillance drone can find a piece of smoldering ash or a tiny spot of excess heat that could spark a wildfire.

On a recent Thursday, Laker piloted the drone over a 3.5-acre section of the refuge near Funny River Road where a hazardous fuel reduction project was taking place. As fire officials monitored small piles of burning wood and ash, Laker watched a shifting array of colors on a screen.

“As I pan around it will see the fires,” Laker explained, pointing out bright red and yellow colors on the screen.

From where he was standing, Laker could tell that one fire was still burning at 370 degrees and that an ash pile had cooled to a frosty 27 degrees.

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