A micro-UAS to Start Prescribed Fires

  • Evan Beachly
  • James Higgins
  • Christian Laney
  • Sebastian Elbaum
  • Carrick DetweilerEmail author
  • Craig Allen
  • Dirac Twidwell
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics book series (SPAR, volume 1)


Prescribed fires have many benefits, but existing ignition methods are dangerous, costly, or inefficient. This paper presents the design and evaluation of a micro-UAS that can start a prescribed fire from the air, while being operated from a safe distance and without the costs associated with aerial ignition from a manned aircraft. We evaluate the performance of the system in extensive controlled tests indoors. We verify the capabilities of the system to perform interior ignitions, a normally dangerous task, through the ignition of two prescribed fires alongside wildland firefighters.


Micro unmanned aerial system UAS UAV Drone Prescribed burn Interior fire ignition 



This work was supported in part by NSF 1638099, NSF 1539070, and NRI-USDA-2013-67021-20947. We are thankful to the NPS, DOI, FAA, and especially appreciate the efforts of Loess Canyons Rangeland Alliance, Homestead National Monument, and all of the firefighters for letting us learn and participate in their efforts. We would also like to thank Becca Horzewski and Dr. Brittany Duncan of the Nimbus Lab. The NE Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is jointly supported by a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Geological Survey, the NE Game and Parks Commission, UNL, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wildlife Management Institute. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evan Beachly
    • 1
  • James Higgins
    • 1
  • Christian Laney
    • 1
  • Sebastian Elbaum
    • 1
  • Carrick Detweiler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Craig Allen
    • 2
  • Dirac Twidwell
    • 3
  1. 1.Computer Science and Engineering DepartmentUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological Survey - Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife UnitLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy and HorticultureUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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