AUGUST 4th, 2020 – CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded Calgary-based 4pi Lab Inc. (4pi Lab) with a Space Technology Development Program (STDP) contribution. This contribution will allow 4pi Lab to significantly advance their goals of developing a space-based very early wildfire detection system.
Wildfires, such as the $9 billion Fort McMurray fire in 2016, the thousands of annual wildfires in California USA, and the 2019/20 Australian bushfires which resulted in death, environmental devastation and over $100 billion in costs, continue to increase in frequency, size and intensity. In Canada, most wildfires are rapidly detected and managed but the few that escape early detection, risk becoming catastrophic. Finding them while they are very small is crucial to significantly reducing that risk.
4pi Lab has designed EPiC, a spaceborne sensor system to detect wildfires as small as 5 to 10 meters. Integral to the EPiC technology is a geo-location and alerting system capable of updating and advising wildfire management agencies in real-time across the globe.
Phase 1 of the EPiC project, now made possible through the CSA’s STDP funding, is to develop and test EPiC-lite, a ground-based version of the EPiC sensor. Controlled burns up to 70 kms away will be detected and geo-located in real-time with the planned collaboration of multiple wildfire management agencies and academic researchers.
Not only will successful ground trials prove the viability of a spacebourne version of EPiC, but wildfire experts in Canada and abroad will be alerted to the emergence of a new wildfire detection system. EPiC will represent a fundamental change to the way in which wildfires are detected, and the very real possibility of a world where catastrophic wildfires become a thing of the past.