Satellite imagery and mapping technologies are helping combat the wildfires currently blazing at Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. Having begun May 1 and expected to continue for several months, the fires have charred more than 1.43 million acres of land and destroyed at least 10 percent of Fort McMurray to include more than 2,400 homes and other structures, according to an article from Intelligence Insurer.

DigitalGlobe took before and after satellite images of the devastation at Fort McMurray in early May and used infrared imagery to reveal healthy vegetation (in bright red) and burnt vegetation (in dark colors). Google also offers satellite imagery of the region via its Google Crisis Response Map. Users can zoom in on the scene to see which areas are more affected than others.

Ontario-based Aeryon Labs is helping to fight the wildfires using its Skyranger unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to map the area and assess fire-fighting efforts, reports CBC News.

In 2011, Idaho State University’s (ISU) GIS Training and Research Center and NASA researchers teamed up for the Rehabilitation Capability Convergence for Ecosystem Recover (RECOVER) project, which is designed for use in rapidly planning the recovery of wildfires, reports the ISU Journal. The GIS-based project assists land managers in decision-making when fighting active wildfires, and is now being used by the Canadian government in the crisis at Fort McMurray.

Photo Credit: DigitalGlobe

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Posted by Lindsay Tilton Mitchell

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