The Northern Ireland Fire Service will test unmanned drones for use in gathering data during severe floods and gorse fires.
Areas of Northern Ireland have been plagued by 583 gorse fires during the months of April and May 2012, according to belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Many of the wildfires were set intentionally.
Gorse is an evergreen shrub of the legume family. The shrub has yellow flowers and spiny leaves. The living shrub is highly flammable, according to weeds.org.au. Gorse contains flammable oils and retains dead vegetation in its canopy, increasing the risk of wildfires.
Currently, there is a contract between the fire service and Skywatch Civil Air Patrol for the use of manned aircraft to relay information, according to nifrs.org.
The drone tests are the first step towards adding the unmanned drones to the contract. The tests will take place during the Portrush Air Show. The air show will take place Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9.
Using unmanned drones to record wildfire information can eliminate the risk to the pilots of the manned flights currently in use.
Flying unmanned drones over flooded ground can also provide information about people who may be stranded by flood waters.
Areas of Belfast faced flooding in late June that displaced at least 20 families, according to the BBC.
Residents make their way through the flooded streets during heavy rainfall in the Cregagh estate in East Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Belfast received 9.13 inches (23.2 cm) of rain in June. On June 22 alone, 2.24 inches (5.7 cm) of rain was reported.The average rainfall for Belfast in June is 2.70 inches (6.9 cm).
"We are excited about the potential benefits this cutting edge technology could bring to quickly gathering information during large-scale incidents - not only will it enhance inter-agency working, it will assist us greatly in emergency planning for these types of incidents and with our work in protecting our community," Max Joyce, Assistant Group Commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said in a press release.
Some of the warmest weather of the year will continue across Alaska over the next few days, challenging more records.
Join us on Thursday for AccuWeather LIVE, we will discuss the debate of climate change and hurricane frequency and the top five things you need to know about summer weather.
Warmth is forecast to build over much of the eastern half of the nation by July, with Alaska of all places helping out.
A brief synopsis of the top five worst weather events of last summer.
The storms could affect cities from St. Louis to Evansville, Ind., Louisville, Ky., Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio to Huntington, W.Va.
A tornado touched down at Denver International Airport as a severe weather system moved through the area.
Atlanta, GA (1991)
3.47" of rain in 1 hour.
Philadelphia, PA (1994)
Strong thunderstorm winds blew off a large section of a hanger roof and also damaged two aircraft.
Central Illinois (1964)
19th-20th) Hail as large as grapefruits battered more than 50 counties, causing crop and property damage totalling $9.2 million.