Canary Islands launch space-based fire defence

'Space war' against wildfires

'Space war' against wildfires. Credit: Telespazio/X

Is it possible to combat forest fires from space? The Canary Islands are taking a significant leap forward in battling the devastating wildfires that have plagued them over the recent summer.

Recently, the Canary Islands have embarked on a technological venture to mitigate the catastrophic impact of wildfires.

A whopping €22 million from European funds has been allocated to a consortium comprising Telespazio Iberica and Pegasus Aero Group from Andalucia, known collectively as the Temporary Business Union (UTE).

Their mission over the next nearly two years is to devise innovative strategies for firefighting and preserving the islands’ biodiversity.

Pioneering firefighting solutions

Through aeronautical and aerospace vehicles such as drones, satellites and pseudo-satellites (HAPs and MALE), they aim to will tackle the fires, stated the UTE.

This project not only aims to create high-quality employment but also seeks to diversify the local economy, which is primarily dependent on tourism and agriculture.

Telespazio Iberica is taking on a pivotal role as a strategic ally of the Canary Islands Government, which is keen on fostering the aerospace industry from the Fuerteventura Technology Park.

This collaboration is expected to boost the local enterprise ecosystem, especially benefiting small and medium-sized enterprises through the introduction of technological advancements.

Broad spectrum applications

Among the key applications of this initiative are environmental monitoring and surveillance, management of natural areas like Lobos Island, Corralejo Dunes Natural Park, and Jandia Natural Park.

The project also encompasses the safeguarding of valuable public environmental heritage, including the Montaña de Tindaya natural monument, and providing support for forest fire prevention, early detection, and management across the Canary Islands.

This effort is part of the ‘Canarias Geo Innovation Program 2030’, spearheaded by the Canary Islands Government and the Fuerteventura Council. Telespazio elaborated, ‘it is “an Earth observation program, intelligent management of the environment and communications.”‘

By embracing space technology, the Canary Islands set a precedent in the fight against wildfires, showcasing innovation’s role in environmental conservation.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.