SA Country Fire Service

Media release

Streaming from the sky to gather intelligence, detect bushfires and save lives


The new capabilities of the SA Country Fire Service's expanded aviation fleet have been put to work, with the new live streaming camera - to gather intelligence and assist in strategic decision making - used during Tuesday's fire in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

The Air Observer Machine has a live streaming camera that provides the CFS with access to high definition imagery, augmented reality mapping to display road and track names, infrared penetration of smoke to detect the location of the fire edge and hot spot detection.

Chief Officer Brett Loughlin AFSM said this new capability greatly improves the CFS's ability to make better informed strategic decisions based on the conditions, fire behaviour and potential infrastructure under threat.

"Having access to this technology is phenomenal, helping us provide greater protection to South Australians," Chief Officer Loughlin said.

"This new capability greatly enhances the information we can get from the fire ground, with the infrared technology allowing us to look through the smoke and pinpoint the exact location of the fire front, flanks and any remaining hot spots."

"Augmented reality mapping is another tool which provides our Senior Operations Officers with exact locations and data that can show exactly where the fire is, so they can better predict where the fire could be in the coming hours."

State Air Resources Coordinator Nik Stanley said the infrared capabilities were used to confirm if the Belair Fire had spread.

"The fire in Belair National Park is a great example of how this technology can assist decision making by gathering strategic intelligence from the air to inform our command centres and crews on the ground," Mr Stanley said.

"Using the camera's infrared technology to search for hot spots we were able to confirm the fire had been contained and no spot fires had spread into the thick scrub surrounding the area."

Emergency Services Minister Joe Szakacs said this capability is a fantastic additional tool for the CFS in protecting the South Australian community.

"This aerial camera has proved how valuable it can be, helping the CFS gather information and support volunteers on the ground in Belair National Park on Tuesday."

"The expanded aerial firefighting fleet, which has increased this year from 26 to 31, provides more support for frontline firefighters and better protection for communities across SA."

The aircraft is based in the Mount Lofty Ranges at the Claremont Airbase but can be flown to any location across the state when required, such as utilised for hot spot detection on the Mt Benson and Avenue Range fires in the Lower South East, and Danggali Conservation Park, in late December 2023.

Download news grabs with Chief Officer Brett Loughlin, footage from the live stream camera and photos here:

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Media information
For media enquiries call the CFS Media Line on 08 8115 3531.

Government of South Australia