The use of drones has been one of the most controversial facets of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, but the unmanned aircrafts are playing a vital role in the fight against forest fires. Predator drones are being used in California in an effort to spot new flames popping up around Yosemite National Park, The Associated Press reported.
Firefighters and National Guardsmen have been working around-the-clock to contain the Rim Fire, and officials say they are confident they are close to containing the flames. Still, it grew by several hundred acres between Thursday and Friday. By having the drones at their disposal, crews can pinpoint what areas to target and stave off the fire before it advances.
"The drone is providing data directly back to the incident commander, allowing him to make quick decisions about which resources to deploy and where," California fire spokesman Daniel Berlant told the AP.
In just under a week, the fire has grown considerably. Last weekend it encompassed about 144,000 acres, but by mid-week it had swelled to 192,500, according to NBC News.