Los Angeles County officials are being urged to consider using satellites to detect wild fires soon after they begin, according to the Los Angeles Times.
And not just any satellites. L.A. County’s Quality and Productivity Commission says in a new report that the county should take a look at the satellites the U.S. military uses to detect missile launches.
“Another promising option, according to the report, would be to use a military satellite that is designed to detect missile launches.
“‘Since a missile flame has characteristics similar to a wildland fire, the system can readily detect fires,’ the report states.”
It’s not as farfetched as it might sound: U.S. states have in fact used data from the U.S. Defense Support Program missile warning satellite constellation to combat wildfires. It appears, however, that the threshold for obtaining such data is fairly high, and in any case these satellites tend to be dedicated to their primary mission of detecting missile launches in faraway places.