Next1 successfully conducts Phase II testing of MAWA-1
autonomous wildfire detection system in beautiful Yukon

Initial Phase I testing of the MAWA-1 automated wildfire detection system was completed by Next1 in Barrie, Ontario.

The system was flown over multiple fire hotspots of different sizes at various altitudes and flight speeds. The system was able to detect all hotspots from a wide range of altitudes, angles and velocities.

For Phase II testing, Next1 partnered with Yukon Wildland Fire Management to simulate real-world wildland fire conditions. All testing was conducted in and around Whitehorse, Yukon.

For each detection mission, Next1 was given a general target grid between 1,000 to 2,500 hectares, located about 50 to 75 nautical miles from the base. Target grids contained challenging geographies consisting of mountain peaks, heavy vegetation and forestation, steep valleys, small towns and waterbodies.

In each target area, a lightning strike was simulated by setting up a small bush fire (2-4 square feet) with smaller hotspots (simulated by hot charcoal fires and camping stoves) spread out about 100 feet. The purpose was to evaluate the ability of MAWA-1 to detect smaller hotspots in the vicinity of a more intense heat source.

Image 1(above): Simulated hotspot being ignited by Yukon Wildfire Management firefighters.

Image 2 (Above) : Image 1 hotspot detected by MAWA-1.
Image 3 (Below) : Image 1 hotspot is not visible to the human observer.

During Phase II testing, the Next1 team collected extensive data to analyze the effectiveness of MAWA-1 in real world conditions. All flights were conducted around midday, which is the most difficult time of day to detect heat sources due to the heat of the sun; testing for a worst-case scenario.

Extensive analysis of the data collected during Phase II suggests that MAWA-1 was able to automatically detect over 85% of the hotspots in various target areas. This includes small hotspots in the vicinity of larger fires that are not visible to the human eye from the air.

With proper calibration and detection friendly timing (overnight or early morning) MAWA-1 should be able to detect over 95% of the hotspots.