How Technology Is Evolving to Improve Aerial Firefighting Outcomes and Enable More Effective Responses

In this blog we delve into the topic of how evolving technology is allowing process improvements in aerial firefighting, resulting in more effective outcomes and safer communities.

This blog is a summary of a section within our ebook we recently published. You can get your own free copy here today.

Evolution of the System

The TracPlus system has evolved over time since its beginning 15 years ago. Originally, we created a safety device where you could see where an asset was if something went wrong, and now we've turned the whole system into an operational dispatch tool.

So what does this mean?

At first, the device allowed you to see if something was wrong with your asset and to also see where the asset is in real time - and use that information to make better decisions.

It then evolved into an integrated platform, which allowed you to share that data that you can see personally, with others, and enable a contracting agency to use it to ensure safety.

Now from this we've gone all the way into an operational dispatch tool, which enables you to send the location data of your assets to a specified contracting agency, who are then able to dispatch the most appropriate asset to a defined location.

Ultimately it's been a great evolution over time that 15 years ago people couldn’t have seen coming.

Now combined with systems like ARENA, we can deploy the most appropriate aircraft and resources available for a particular incident, whether it be a developing wildfire, or whether it's a civil defense response. The key thing is the integrated use of technology, both as an online registry of data, and integrating that with real time tracking. That's what gives the system tremendous power, and ensures an effective and efficient use of high cost assets.

“Aerial firefighting operators are running at the nexus of two highly complex environments: low level flying and wildfires - and because we're operating at the junction of those two environments, we have to gain control, and we've got to turn what is a resilient, chaotic situation into something that's controllable. Or at least being able to manage it so that we protect life, if nothing else. The ARENA system allows us to do this by having the right resources and the right people in the right place.”

- Mac McNamara, FENZ National Manager of Operations and Aviation Lead

Evolution of the Hardware

It's not just the platform that's evolving, it's the hardware too. Not only TracPlus hardware, but all of the providers that we look at. TracPlus serves somewhere around 100 devices which can receive the input feeds from different devices that we then pass on to the ARENA system.

What we're seeing is a trend away from a monolithic style device where you've got a single box that does everything, and more towards an integrated and modular approach where the different devices specialise in different things.

So what that means for the operator is that you have a longer experience with the asset that you're choosing, instead of having to pull them out and replace them every couple of years. As requirements change, you can add modular components for the likes of those requirements, rather than having to change the entire unit. So it's really an evolution away from the single box that does everything and more towards little boxes that specialise in little things that play really well together.

We have seen technology evolve a tremendous amount in recent years, and we don’t expect that to slow down any time soon. We have exciting developments in the work currently at TracPlus that will completely change the way fires are fought - and that’s just from our side. We are eager to see what other innovations will be brought to the table to help in building an improved wildfire response management for operators and agencies worldwide.


For more information on how TracPlus supports wildfire response operations, enable tracking and communication needs, and help manage and mitigate risk, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

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