Sweden experienced a large number of wildfires during their recent, unusually warm and dry summer. On August 5, 2018, the island of Björkö experienced a fire that rapidly grew out of control. The Swedish National Police, with their Bell 429 helicopters equipped with the FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HDc multi-spectral imaging sensor were quickly called to assist.
FLIR airborne multi-spectral imaging technology is used by military, law enforcement, firefighters, and search and rescue units worldwide. Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR) technology has been traditionally used in firefighting activities to overcome light obscurations from fires and detect hot spots which could grow into larger fires. In recent years, FLIR has incorporated Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) technology, which has a unique capability seeing through thick smoke and allows for a clear view of exact fire lines.
The Swedish National Police operate seven aircrafts throughout Sweden. These aircrafts cover missions from search and rescue, national security and law enforcement, as well as provide support for firefighters.
In this firefighting mission, the Swedish National Police pilots flew missions to provide both the National Command Centre Stockholm and Regional Command Centre Gothenburg better visible capabilities, enabling them to direct precision water drops from their water bombing units. Coupled with a tactical map overlay, the team could see a full aerial view of the fire, identifying hot spots to correctly determine the fire’s source and path and enabling precise execution to put the fire out, and keep it out. They also used FLIR technology to instruct evacuated persons to safety by sharing the captured images and footage with command and units on the ground. With the help of FLIR technology, many houses were saved.
FLIR is privileged to support the Swedish National Police’s missions and is proud to witness real-world lifesaving capabilities of our technology. To learn more about FLIR’s airborne surveillance technology, please visit FLIR.com/Surveillance.