Australia fire

Women Who Drone explores wildfire relief drones for Australia fire fundraiser

The 2020 Australia fire season is one of the worst on record, as more than 15.6 million acres of Australia have burned so far this year. At least 25 people have been killed, 2,000 homes have been destroyed, and an estimated 1 billion animals have been lost.

But in bad situations, drones can be used for good.

Women Who Drone, which puts on bi-monthly meetups around the world, is turning its attention to the Australia fire disaster.

The meetup group (not affiliated with The Drone Girl, but certainly a friend of Drone Girl!) will meet in Mountain View, CA, from 7pm to 9:30pm on January 16th, 2020 at Matternet, a drone delivery company that focuses on delivering medical supplies.

The keynote speaker will be Jessie Mooberry, Head of UTM at Airbus, who will discuss ways how drone tech can play a role in preventing bushfires as well as contribute to disaster relief efforts.

In the U.S., close to 1,000 state and local police, sheriff, fire and emergency service agencies in the U.S. are known to have been using dronesFirefighters use drones to see through smoke via thermal imaging cameras, to monitor ground crew locations, identify smoldering hot spots and see current fire conditions. And in the aftermath of fires, drone-based aerial imaging can be used to conduct environmental impact studies to assess the fire damage.

Veterinarian Angela Scott with PIRSA treats a koala for bushfire burns at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park in the Parndana region. The Kangaroo Wildlife Park, owned by Sam Mitchell and partner Dana Mitchell, has been treating and housing close to 30 koalas a day since the recent bushfires. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Of course, you should never fly a drone over a fire unless you are directly related to the relief efforts. In fact, in some countries it’s a federal crime.

“The FAA warns unauthorized drone operators that they may be subject to significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations,” according to a message posted on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website. 

Other guest speakers at the Women Who Drones will include the team from Matternet. Attendees can also expect drone film screenings, drone test flying, and a raffle for a drone lesson.

Tickets start at $7 including light appetizers, but it’s for a cause; all ticket sales will be donated to the Australian Bush Fires.

Here’s the full schedule for the evening:

  • 7:00 – 7:30pm: Networking (snacks and drinks provided)
  • 7:30 – 8:00pm: WWD presentation
  • 8:00 – 8:15pm: WWD Ambassadors screenings
  • 8:15 – 8:30pm: Guest Speaker
  • 8:30 – 8:45pm: Q+A
  • 8:45 – 9:30pm: Raffle + Networking

The appetizers and space for the event will be sponsored by Matternet. And while the event is called Women Who Drone, all genders are invited to participate in the meetup.

Tickets for the Women Who Drone event can be purchased here.

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