The person who was granted a patent in 2017 for detailing a system of Drones that might be used to drop liquids on wildfires co-authored a paper with two other authors earlier this year that claims to have calculated how many Drones would be required to put out a tiny portion of a fire. The patent given to Marco Ghio, #WO2017208272A1, is rather vague and does not include any technical specifics. It claims that instead of using traditional fire retardants or water, a “rain” concept would be used.
Fire retardant is dropped from an approved air tanker at coverage levels ranging from 1 to 9 gallons per 100 square feet in the United States, depending on the situation. It’s unclear what degree of coverage “rain” would create.
“A control unit for the coordination of missions, the flight paths to be followed, and the selection of the optimal drop spots optimised according to environmental circumstances,” according to the system’s description. Mr. Ghio, Elena Ausonio, and Patrizia Bagnerini’s patent and research paper assume that the cargo capacity of the Drones will be 5 to 50 litres (1 to 13 gallons), which is much less than the cargo capacity of helicopters (up to 3,000 gallons) and fixed-wing aircraft (up to 17,500 gallons) that currently fight wildfires.