Raven Industries Uses Stratospheric Balloon Technology to Monitor Wildfires


Above: A thermal camera image (left) taken at the same time as a visible camera image (right). Both images were captured by one of Raven Aerostar's Thunderhead Balloon Systems while station-seeking above and monitoring a wildfire. While billowing smoke obscures the visual image, active flames are identified as bright white markings on the thermal image, offering actionable information for containment efforts.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (September 28, 20201) — Raven Industries, Inc. (the Company; NASDAQ:RAVN) announced today that the company monitored major active wildfires via stratospheric balloon over the past several months, successfully demonstrating the use of stratospheric balloon technology for wildfire management.

In response to a growing need to protect natural resources, homes and lives during wildfire outbreaks, Raven Aerostar piloted a Thunderhead Balloon program during June, July and August 2021 to monitor active wildfires across the United States. Equipped with cameras and sensors, one of the company’s stratospheric balloons traveled more than 16,000 miles throughout its 70-day flight, which included station-seeking above four active fires — the Robertson Draw Fire (Mont.), the Dixie Fire (Calif.), the Dixie-Jumbo Fire (Idaho) and the Dry Gulch/Lick Creek fire (Wash.) — collecting visible and thermal imagery for extended periods of time.

“Wildfires burn millions of acres per year, and researchers expect fires to become larger and more severe in years to come,” said Jim Nelson, Division Manager of Raven Aerostar. “From monitoring hot spots to predicting future wildfire movement, Raven’s Thunderhead Balloon Systems can provide essential data about the status and spread of active wildfires for use in containment efforts and, ultimately, to save lives.”

In addition to real-time visible and thermal imagery, the company’s stratospheric balloon technology can provide a vital communication relay to firefighters on the ground working to contain the flames, allowing reliable coordination via standard hand-held radios. Raven’s stratospheric balloons can dwell over a specified area for weeks and months. In these harsh environments, where long-range communications are often obstructed and impossible to connect, Raven’s stratospheric balloons can link nodes in a communications network and extend sensor ranges by hundreds of miles.

About Raven Industries, Inc.

Raven Industries (NASDAQ: RAVN) provides innovative, high-value products and systems that solve great challenges throughout the world. Raven is a leader in precision agriculture, high-performance specialty films, and aerospace and defense solutions, and the company’s groundbreaking work in autonomous systems is unlocking new possibilities in areas like farming, national defense, and scientific research. Since 1956, Raven has designed, produced, and delivered exceptional solutions, earning the company a reputation for innovation, product quality, and unmatched service. For more information, visit https://ravenind.com.

About Raven Aerostar

Raven Aerostar consists of wholly-owned subsidiaries Aerostar International, Inc. and Aerostar Technical Solutions, Inc. Dedicated to connecting, protecting and saving lives through its work as an Aerospace & Defense provider, Raven Aerostar’s core product offerings include stratospheric platforms, radar and perception sensors, technical services, tethered aerostats, and protective wear. From engineering services to mission planning and support, research and design, and the development of advanced technical products — Raven Aerostar offers tailored turnkey solutions for a multitude of successful operations. Visit https://ravenaerostar.com for more information.

Contact Information

Lisa McElrath, Corporate Communications Manager
Raven Industries
+1 (605) 336-2750