Company uses drones to harden homes against wildfires

SEP 08, 2021

San Francisco, CA (KERO) —San Francisco-based start-ups use drones and 3D technology to protect their homes from wildfires.

The 2017 Tubbs Fire changed Calistoga-based Bill Dyers’ thinking about living in a house in the middle of the forest.

“I thought it was great. Once you’ve survived these fires, looking out the window or looking at the trees has another effect.”

So Bill cleaned up the defensive space around the house.

But when the glass fire burned down the driveway, he decided he needed expert help and turned to a new company called Firemaps.

They use drones to create three-dimensional images of properties that detail the condition of the house and the surrounding canopy.

“And then we can create a priority list of treatments that will help reduce the risk of fire,” said Sharuk Khaanna, co-founder of Firemaps.
Kanna says work is underway to mow the bill tree and remove dead branches that may act as kindlings.

They also replaced the eaves vents with ones that sealed under high heat.

And Firemaps found a grate on this wall that could burn embers directly into the house.

“It’s not in sight, and usually not what you know. As a homeowner, how many vents do I have, what kind of vents do I have, what kind of vents do I have? Do they have meshes? “

Homeowners get a detailed list of recommendations, including immediate fixes and those that can be phased in over the years.

However, contractor scheduling can be a daunting task, so Firemaps uses 3D rendering to save homeowners time and contractors money to find a company to work with. Useful for.

“This allows contractors to see and bid on projects without having to go to the scene,” Kanna said.

And perhaps the best thing about Firemaps is its price.

Homeowners are free.

The contractor bears the cost of getting more work.

Bill is still doing his job, but he says he has come to appreciate living in a less thick forest.

“When I look in this direction, it’s more like a park, a managed forest, and that’s what I need,” Dier said.

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