Recent trials in Benandarah State Forest, north of Batemans Bay, have shown drones can effectively ignite hazard reduction burns in hard to access areas.
Forestry Corporation of NSW has been trialing drones to support a safe and effective hazard reduction burning program.
The use of drones to ignite tricky-to-reach areas, means less risk to forestry staff and better bushfire protection for neighbours and forest assets, Forestry NSW says.
Forestry protection supervisor, Julian Armstrong said drones have a huge potential to complement existing hazard reduction practices.
"We used the drone to deliver incendiaries to the target sites, which would have otherwise been difficult and dangerous for staff to access," Mr Armstrong said.
"Drones meant we could safely carry out the burning program over a wider area, removing fine fuels in a mosaic pattern for a safer and healthier forest.
"The trials are not about replacing staff, but will mean staff can work in a safer environment," he said.
The results showed over a two day trial, double the area could be burnt using drone devices for ignition.
"Forestry Corporation ground crews concentrated on lighting the burns from road lines, while drone incendiaries were used to light ridge-tops, remote areas and tricky areas such as around powerlines," Mr Armstrong said.
"The drone is equipped with infrared technology so we could see where the fire front was slowly burning, even through smoke.
"This was a first for us, and we are really happy with the results - we look forward to running more trials of this technology in the current burning season.
Forestry said the drones were operated by Civil Aviation Safety Authority certified drone pilots according to a prescribed burn plan.
For more information visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au