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Bridger Aerospace Launches Aerial Data Tool for Wildfires

The imagery and intelligence technology relies on private aircraft, crowdsourcing and even the U.S. Forest Service to provide tactical data to first responders and residents. Bridger recently said it would go public.

Bridger Aerospace Group has launched an aerial imagery, intelligence and crowdsourcing tool that firefighters and others can use when battling wildfires.

This is the latest example of how government technology is helping public safety agencies deal with one of the main environmental threats facing the U.S., one that promises to increase as climate change gets worse.

The Montana-based company says its new FireTrac product is a “commercial multi-spectrum aerial imagery service and consumer app” that can provide real-time data on wildfires, according to a statement.

That data comes via high-resolution imagery gained via an aerial fire-mapping platform. Bridger aircraft have what the statement called “multi-spectrum (OE/IR) precision survey payloads (with) advanced precision mapping and multi-image orthophoto capabilities.”

Sensors and onboard software combine the aerial images into visual data about wildfires that can be used by fire and emergency workers, along with map providers, news outlets, research institutions and other organizations. The idea for public agencies is to use all that data to craft tactical responses to wildfires.

The FireTrac app uses those aircraft images, crowdsourced information and other data — including from the U.S. Forest Service and other groups — to alert users to fire danger. People can use the app to access evacuation maps, road restrictions, weather and air quality data and other information.

“I founded Bridger Aerospace with a mission to fight wildfires with specialized modern aircraft, and advanced technologies to save lives, property and habitat,” said Tim Sheehy, founder and CEO of Bridger Aerospace, in the statement. “FireTrac is the next step toward our goal of providing real-time critical wildfire intelligence and situational awareness to all who need it.”

Sheehy, once a Navy SEAL, founded the company in 2014. It employs more than 120 people and operates a private fleet of 24 aircraft.

In early August, Bridger said it would merge with Jack Creek Investment Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, and become publicly traded.

FireTrac stands as only the latest gov tech tool designed to help detect and manage wildfires. Indeed, public agencies and gov tech providers are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence and other types of technology to deal with the growing threat and cost of wildfires in the U.S.