An embedded perspective of the Carr Fire – Drones for good

Casey Tholborn, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Two weeks ago, an interagency team of UAV operators arrived in Redding, California to assist in disaster response to the tragic Carr Fire.

My role was as a drone data analyst processing and visualizing incoming data. In any large-scale emergency, there can be periods of downtime followed by intense pressures and workload. The Carr fire was similar. It was during any breaks that I tried to quickly capture and document the UAV effort.

There were two primary goals in telling the story. The first was to assist in recalling lessons learned that are quickly forgotten after the fact. More documentation was actually, in itself, a lesson learned from the previous Tubb’s fire in Sonoma County last October.

The second goal was to tell the story of the amazing effort of the teams involved without the potential distraction on embedded journalists and with minimal commercial spin, though acknowledging the commercial entities involved.  In a world filled with negative drone stories and knee-jerk reactions of anti-drone laws, my hope was a positive one can help make a difference.

This short video is a result of those goals and the footage has been run through the teams involved for approval.