The faster a fire is found, the better the chance of putting it out. On a hot, dry, windy day a fire can be up and rolling within minutes after the first spark.
On days like this, a fire needs to be sighted almost as soon as it starts and its location reported by the fastest means available.
The race to beat a fire before it grows too big is the impetus behind the drive to find better, faster methods of detection.
Organized wildfire detection in Canada began with ranger patrols. The first fire rangers made their way through the bush on foot, by canoe or on horseback. Fire ranger patrols were eventually replaced by fire lookouts and aerial patrols.
Today, highly organized fire detection systems rely on computer technology to track weather systems, locate lightning strikes, and predict fire behaviour. Wildfire is reported by a variety of means: aerial observers, fire lookout personnel, and to a large extent, the general public.
To learn more about fire detection methods, check out the following: