COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) has been awarded a substantial donation from the Fire Foundation of Colorado Springs to go toward the purchase of a new drone.

A check ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 18, where CSFD received $33,000 to put toward the purchase of a DJI Matrice 300 RTK, a drone that aids in many aspects of fire and rescue efforts. CSFD said the drone will be instrumental in finding lost or injured hikers, assisting and identifying the cause of smoke in mountainous terrain and wildland and urban areas, and locating the quickest routes to emergency calls where there may be no access.

The drone has a three-camera system – a 23xzoom, a wide-angle camera, and an Infrared (IR) – along with a 55-minute flight time that will allow it to remain on scenes while crews are responding. CSFD said the drone has already been used to fight the Silver Charm fire, which moved quickly toward homes near Interquest Parkway in April. The technology this drone offers means firefighters can get ahead of a fire and save lives and property, as was demonstrated with the Silver Charm fire.

“One of the challenges during wildfire is the smoke that’s produced… it makes it very difficult for us to identify the perimeter of the wildfire,” said CSFD Deputy Chief Steven Dubey. “And so by having a drone, we can fly that over the fire, identify the perimeter because the infrared camera can see through the smoke… That allows our incident commander the opportunity to then deploy firefighters to where that fire is moving to.”

This video provided by CSFD shows exactly what the drone captured on the scene, and the hotspots hidden beneath the smoke.

The drone was already purchased and in use by CSFD, but the donation will now reimburse the department so more resources can be used for fire and rescue services.