Category Archives: wild fires

City of Penticton’s Moderated Public Forum on Smart Meter Safety in 2012 Included Professor Curtis Bennett

I was asked by Penticton citizens to speak at their city council agenda to substantiate the RF EMF danger because of my electrical, building engineering and thermal radiation qualifications.

I am also Adjunct Faculty for continuing medical education where doctors, nurses, etc get education credits they require for ongoing medical licensing. The dangers of the RF EMFs as applied has now been lectured for CME credits and applicable in North America.

From there, Kevin Proteau as citizen’s spokesperson asked for a public forum to educate the public.

The City of Penticton, British Columbia agreed to hold a moderated public forum on wireless meter safety. City of Penticton management sat at one table with Itron representing the meter program being safe. Concerned citizen’s representatives sat at the other table with the moderator in between. The City of Penticton had a live audio feed and did video the event. Unfortunately the video quality wasn’t very good and thanks to citizen’s taping the forum, unedited versions of the forum are here for you to see. Special thanks to Dan Bianco for his hours of work putting the information together.

I didn’t attend the meeting just to present information on the dangers of the frequencies. I was there in my professional capacity to see the science as represented by Itron, City of Penticton, citizen’s concerns and how they were represented. Watch all 4 parts of the videos, they represent the science, the sales and public questions after both sides presented.

PART 1: City of Penticton & Itron on Meter Safety

PART 2: Brian Thiesen from Kamloops on the human body and the financial interests pushing Smart Meters

Part 3, Curtis Bennett is a government certified provincial and national electrical professional, a building engineering professional, thermal radiation consultant and lectures the dangers of RF EMFs in medical education for CE Credits required for ongoing medical licensing. Expert witness was provided by Curtis at the request of Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health where the mechanism linking frequencies to adverse health effects was reported.

Part 4, Questions & Answers From Public

Our expectations at the open forum were for the city and Itron to technically qualify the safety of wireless smart meters. That didn’t happen.

Infrared man still fighting to get into Filmon fire report

By Marshall Jones, staff reporter (Capital News, Kelowna, British Columbia)

Curtis Bennett still gets no satisfaction from the Filmon inquiry into last summer’s forest fire situation.

As first reported by the Capital News, Bennett’s entire submission on the merits of practical application of infrared technology to fight fires was missing from Gary Filmon’s final report.

Bennett has attempted to contact the former Manitoba premier who led the inquiry but hasn’t heard much. Bennett was told that his submission to the inquiry was lost in a technical glitch.

In an E-mail to Bennett, Filmon apologized for the commission.

“I remember your presentation well and have mentioned it to several people,” Filmon wrote. “I hope there will be an interest in pursuing the infrared technology in B.C.”

On the advice of provincial ombudsman Rick Webber, Bennett now wants Filmon to file an addendum to the review budgeted at a half-million dollars.

Chris Shaw was an Army Reserve firefighter in Barrier and says the technology exploited by Bennett would be a great addition to the effort. Infrared, which measures visual temperatures, is currently used by the B.C. Forest Service and city fire crews but not in the same way, he said.

“Some of the imaging they have still has to be converted,” he added. “What Curtis is able to do is give it to you right away.”

Shaw is interested in Bennett’s submission, both as a front-liner at the time, but also as a communications officer with the B.C. Green Party, which has taken on Bennett’s cause. They both believe that the technology could help pilots see through smoke to drop their water. Shaw said it could also be used on the ground to put out hot spots. The current method of finding hot spots is a guessing game, somewhat akin to testing each piece of ground covered by a forest fire. Sometimes tree roots burn right through the ground and can flare up again with a gust of wind. Infrared can find those spots and tell crews when they are extinguished.

“This isn’t a partisan issue,” Shaw said. “I remember some of the reports, they were saying they’d like to send bombers in but they can’t see anything. When someone comes in and says here look at this, this is where your fire is, it’s about protecting people.”

Carr Calls Filmon’s Error “Highly Suspicious”

Straight Talk
Carr Calls Filmon’s Error “Highly Suspicious”
By charlie smith
Publish Date: 1-Apr-2004

A Kelowna engineering technologist has told the Straight that he repeatedly tried to tell provincial officials last summer that his infrared technology would have enabled forest firefighters to see the Okanagan Park fire through the smoke.

Curtis Bennett, owner of Thermografix Consulting Corp., said if his technology was used, firefighters might have had more success fighting the blaze, which destroyed more than 200 homes in Kelowna.

Last summer, provincial officials said in several media briefings that heavy smoke hampered efforts to fight the fire.

Bennett told the Straight that after the fire started, he contacted local Liberal MLA John Weisbeck, Forests Minister Mike de Jong’s office, the fire command team, the Kelowna fire department, and the provincial fire commissioner’s office, all to no avail.

“Our [provincial] fire budget was $58 million,” Bennett said. “We spent half a billion, yet fought it blind.”

The Ministry of Forests and Kelowna assistant fire chief Steve Kinsey did not return calls from the Straight by deadline. Bennett said that Edmonton’s fire department began using his technology 10 years ago.

On August 22, Bennett added, he was on an Okanagan Lake beach taking pictures of the fire through the smoke when Premier Gordon Campbell and his entourage arrived to speak to the media. “The premier came over, looked at the fire through the smoke, and said ‘Wow,’ ” Bennett recalled.

Bennett said he told Campbell’s press aide that the provincial government wasn’t using his technology and passed along a business card. Bennett’s pictures later appeared in Kelowna newspapers, but he said the technology was never used by fire crews. “I volunteered my services,” he said. “We could have given those guys immediate sight.”

Bennett also said that on November 26, he told this tale at a Kelowna public hearing held by the Firestorm 2003 Review Team, chaired by former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon.

Filmon’s report did not mention Bennett on its lengthy list of presenters. The report also didn’t comment on the application of infrared technology to fighting forest fires.

“It’s irresponsible and it’s unacceptable,” Bennett said. “There is not one reference to this technology, but he does talk about sprinklers on roofs.”

Green Party of B.C. leader Adriane Carr told the Straight that the “omission” of Bennett’s presentation from the Filmon report is “highly suspicious”. Carr added that she thinks it warrants further investigation.

“The province probably has some concerns about liability on all of this,” Carr said. “But I think the public needs to know, and the government needs to be pushed on making sure it not only did but will in the future do everything possible to avoid any loss.”

Filmon told the Straight that he recalls Bennett’s presentation and thought the technology was interesting. He said Bennett wasn’t taped because of a “technical glitch” and that’s why he wasn’t mentioned in the report.

“I had no motivation to cover up anything,” Filmon said. “Certainly something like this did not represent negligence or liability.”

Filmon said that promoters of many products made presentations. He added that the Ministry of Forests would have had to test each one before he could make any judgments.

Filmon commission High-tech camera could have helped, owner tells review

Image taken by Curtis Bennett without infrared camera. Image taken by Curtis Bennett with infrared camera. Contributed
Image taken by Curtis Bennett without infrared camera. Image taken by Curtis Bennett with infrared camera. Contributed

By Marshall Jones, staff reporter (Capital News, Kelowna, British Columbia)

Local man says his infrared camera allows predictions of fire movement.

If fire officials couldn’t see the Okanagan Mountain Park fire advance through all the smoke, then Curtis Bennett saw more than they did.

Bennett, of Thermografix Consulting, told the Provincial Firestorm Review Thursday that he used his infrared camera to see what no one else could.

More frustrating for Bennett was that no one would let him show the value of the special camera, which he says is far more advanced than typical forward-looking infrared cameras.

“Then I find out they are blind looking through the smoke when I can let them see the direction the fire is taking before it even gets there,” Bennett told the Filmon commission.

He produced a series of pictures he took showing a typical camera view of smoke from Aug. 22.

But in infrared, the fire is seen spreading quickly along the hillside.

In other photos, he shows people milling about on a smoky street. Switch to infrared and you can see the fire on a hillside not far behind the people.

“It is not just the equipment, it is the interpretation of this technology and heat transfer,” he says.

“Why not treat a forest fire for what it is, which is one big hot spot.”

He maintains that using different sensitivity settings, he can see heat build ahead of the fire which, with the right training, might help predict fire movement.

He uses the camera in private commercial applications such as showing structural defects in buildings.

Fire fighters already use infrared cameras in certain applications but Bennett insists he can prove the value of his camera and his know-how.

mjones@kelownacapnews.com

Infrared camera allowed first glimpse fire storm

By Marshall Jones, staff reporter (Capital News, Kelowna, British Columbia)

Curtis Bennett was among the first, perhaps the only person in Kelowna to see the spread of advancing flames on Kelowna’s south slopes Friday.

The thick, low-lying smoke kept the flames under cover, but Bennett was able to use a FLIR camera, or Forward Looking Infrared allowing him to see the heat right through the smoke.

“It’s amazing. I can see people on the street minding their own business and behind them I can see this mountain of flame,” Bennett says.

When he’s not watching fire activity, Bennett’s consulting company, Thermografix, is always looking for new applications for his camera.

Unfortunately, he says, he wasn’t able to convince the Kelowna Fire Department about the benefits of the technology.

“There’s lots of infrared cameras but not many like this,” he said.

He can pinpoint different temperatures and see hot spots through the smoke. He uses the camera for several other uses including finding pine beetles, spotting marijuana grow operations for landlords and testing cell phones for radiation.

He’s also trying to convince physicians that he can watch a SARS-like fever move through the body and tell if medicine is working.

mjones@kelownacapnews.com

She’s mighty ugly out here…

View with the naked eye from Gyro Beach at 1:21 p.m. Friday afternoon. Smoke obscures the fire action. The same view using an infra-red camera. Fire activity is minimal although the stage is set for the inferno to come. Two hours later at 3:21 p.m. the wind has started to whip up the fire. A minute later, at 3:22 p.m. the fire has already increased in size. Another minute later, at 3:23 p.m, the fire is even larger and has begun to quickly travel to the north and east. Two minutes later at 3:25 p.m., the blaze has exploded in both size and intensity. At 4:14 p.m., 50 minutes later, the fire has travelled several kilometres devouring numerous houses. Photos Curtis Bennett/Map courtesy Talking Guide.Com
View with the naked eye from Gyro Beach at 1:21 p.m. Friday afternoon. Smoke obscures the fire action. The same view using an infra-red camera. Fire activity is minimal although the stage is set for the inferno to come. Two hours later at 3:21 p.m. the wind has started to whip up the fire. A minute later, at 3:22 p.m. the fire has already increased in size. Another minute later, at 3:23 p.m, the fire is even larger and has begun to quickly travel to the north and east. Two minutes later at 3:25 p.m., the blaze has exploded in both size and intensity. At 4:14 p.m., 50 minutes later, the fire has travelled several kilometres devouring numerous houses. Photos Curtis Bennett/Map courtesy Talking Guide.Com

The following is a visual and narrative account of how the Okanagan Mountain fire exploded last Friday afternoon, devouring 248 homes and displacing 30,000 Kelowna residents from their homes. The remarkable infrared images taken by Curtis Bennett show the fire flaring up and taking off under the influence of 60 km/h winds. The narrative account is an edited transcript of radio communications between fire fighters taken from the Capital News scanner. It provides a chilling blow-by-blow description of the potentially fatal challenges the firefighters faced trying to stop what became a category six firestorm.


Kelowna Fire Department platoon Captain Len Moody was responsible for five, then six, then seven task forces assigned to different areas of the upper Mission Friday night.

The following is why Chief Gerry Zimmermann made sure Prime Minister Jean Chretien shook the hand of the man who may have saved lives and many, many homes.

The following radio transmissions are a fraction ofthe exchanges from a very busy and unprecedented night in urban firefighting.

Removed were large sections of the details involved in deploying 300 men and women and 140 pieces of equipment.

The communications below have only been edited for clarity. The rest is exactly as it was said. Moody’s words are noted by italics.

TIME CHECK 4:02 p.m.

Task Force one and two (TF-1 and -2), this is Moody. I can’t get you any help in there guys, the road’s been breached here so you got to fight your way in there.

Roger that, we are doing the best we can.

Okay, the other thing I want to remind you guys of in there, is if the hydro line goes down, conserve your water because they are electric pumps up there so don’t waste any of it.

Roger that. Thanks for the heads up.

Dispatch this is Moody. Maybe, one of those bush trucks coming to Cedar Creek here, redeploy them to Belcarra. She’s awful dicey here so keep your head up.

TF-1, Engine 112 is almost out of fuel. Repeat, Engine 112 is in need of fuel, please.

The fuel truck has left the area, repeat fuel truck has left the area you won’t be getting fuel right now.

Roger that.

TIME CHECK: 4:13 p.m.

This is engine 128. We are at the Cedar Creek firehall and it is on fire, right beside the trees, they are going to burn.

Kelowna Dispatch from District 7: I don’t want to give you bad news but we got a solid wall of flame heading straight for Stewart and Diamond. I would put it at half a kilometre.

Stewart and Diamond.

There is nothing we can do to stop it. I would say they are 100 feet in the air plus.

Moody Command, this is Engine 128. We are at the Cedar Creek firehall, where would you like us to go?

I’ve got a hydrant there, there is another engine on this side. Try to stop it from going across the road there. I know it is impinging on that trailer park, forget the trailer park, let’s try to stop it from going across the road.

Roger that.

Make sure you got an escape route because it is moving pretty fast. The wind is really vicious. It came across the road probably in about 15 seconds.

Roger that.

Dispatch this is Moody. I need to know if these hydrants are going to work on Chute Lake Road, where they are fed from, if they are electric pumps, where I am going to get my water from or if we are going to run out? Either talk to engineering or find out real quick because if we don’t have any water on this road we got to get out of here.

Roger.

Capt Moody, We are starting to get spot fires here and a structure fire in Belcarra. I think we can still engage it, but we are going to need, if possible, a bush truck and some manpower and I don’t know if—copied this or not.

He did but I can’t get you any yet. You’ve got to do with what you got. I have none to give you, I can’t get them in there.

Dispatch: Stand by PC Moody, John Vos is explaining to you where the water is coming from.

Vos: I’ll go real quick. Just up from Cedar Creek ditch, up to Stellar and Uplands and from there it’s pumped to the very top. As long as we keep power at Stellar and Uplands we can keep pumping water to you.

Can you have somebody down there tell me if that pump goes down so I can get my guys out of here?

Ten-four. We are remote monitoring it, we can tell right away when it goes out.

As soon as it goes, let me know please.

Roger that.

Moody from dispatch.

Go ahead.

You have lost power to your hydrants. Aquila will be trying to redirect it. At this point we will be notifying you when you are at 50 per cent capacity right now you are about 91.

Thanks. We just impinged the park across from Cedar Creek firehall. I am probably going to deploy a couple of guys down the road. We’re going to try to make a stand here.

Roger that.

TIME CHECK 5:02.

Moody this is engine 119. We are at the corner of Southridge and Cantina. The fire has progressed north towards the first structures and the structures are going to go.

Can you take a defensive position somewhere there to protect yourself and maybe the other ones. Any chance of that? If not, if it looks too ugly, get out. There is only one way out of that place which is, there is a new road, Frost Road across the top there. It has got some barricades across it if you have to move them, go through there, that will get you out.

We’re safe. We are covered. We —

OK, make sure you got an escape route.

We have escape.

We’ve got probably 70/80 km/h winds here. It is moving, the forest warden tells me, at least 100 metres every minute. So you got to keep that under consideration. That’s everybody.

Staging officer (Lt. Tim) Light this is Moody. You better get Channel 2 up on the forestry channel there. Get one of your radios, get one of your portables or something on the forestry. I’ve got eyes in the air, he’s going to be our safety eyes. If I don’t happen to hear him, tell him to get on Channel 2. Talk to him, he’s up there.

Roger that, we’re getting on it.

Engine 112 Lt. Davidson.

Battalion One, we have a fire southeast of us and we got no water there. She’s going.

— get out.

Dave, we need help up here.

115 get out. Now.

Dispatch this is Moody. I’ve been talking to Forestry. I am going to re-deploy some units to Crawford Road Estates. He says it is heading that way at about 1,000 metres a minute, I mean 100 metres a minute, so I am going to deploy all the units I can over there. Also, I need your ears up on Channel 2. The Foresty will be giving its updates on where it’s going, I need that information.

Roger, I have a portable on F2.

Thanks. You are doing great work.

Trying.

She’s mighty ugly out here. Be safe.

Time check 5:13 p.m.

Capt. Moody from dispatch: Caller on Raymer says it is racing up towards Crawford from her backyard. Raymer: flames racing up towards Crawford from her backyard.

I can believe that.

Good. We thought so, good.

Capt. Moody this is staging. Do you want a busload of refreshed guys up there?

I don’t think it’s safe. There is no place to change them that’s safe, it is coming too hard.

Transfer in for the guys who have been out there for 12, 14 hours?

I would sooner not. These guys know what they are doing, what they are dealing with and with the wind I would just as soon get out of there. If we have to go back in we are going in with fresh crews. I’d sooner just have the crews in there so they can get out.

Roger that.

O Reilly? We need water Lt. Shawn.

Barry, grab those guys get up here, we got to get out of here real quick, right now. No hoses. Don’t forget anybody, just get out of there.

Moody from TF-1. Yeah, I think Viewcrest and Uplands they are starting to go. Okaview is now, uh, there’s a number of house fires, it is getting pretty hard to pass through.

What other fall back points? Can we go back up to Kettle Valley if we get out of here?

The only chance you have got is to go back to Kettle Valley, stage in the middle of that subdivision up there.

Roger.

Moody, this is (Chief Gerry) Zimmermann. Okay, Len pull all your task forces back, pick a line. Pick a different line, something achieveable and try to hold that one because there is no use doing bits and pieces up there. Pull back and maybe deploy everything in one spot.

OK. Let’s try Barnaby Road, guys. All Task units report in: Do you read that? pull back to Barnaby Road.

Roger that.: TF-5.

TF-1 copy, we are starting to pull out.

Command, this is TF-4. Leonard, I just was talking to forestry boss here and he said give everybody a heads-up: Extreme winds coming out through Peachland, high winds up to 60 clicks.

And which directions are they blowing?

You guessed it. Ours.

Moody, this is staging. If you are going to have all those trucks (at Barnaby Road) is that a good place to switch crews?

You can try, but we got it licking right at us, so whatever, if you want to stage them down at Larry’s, fine. I am going to use them for staging. I am going to find someone else and we are going to have Barnaby Road as Task No. 7. I need some officer in charge of it and I need it quick.

TIME CHECK 5:39 p.m.

Moody from TF-5: We are coming down the new road that is pushed through to the top of Barnaby.

Fine. If you can do that there is a couple of structure fires coming down there I am sure there is no hydrants there. I have engines deployed to the top of Barnaby road, find yourself a hydrant there and hook up to it. I don’t want crews stretching a lot of hose there because you might have to move. Looks like the winds shifted to the north. It is going to come right at us on Barnaby Road so we have to get ready.

TIME CHECK 5:59 p.m.

Moody, this is (Lt.) Dennis Loken. I believe the power is still on up here.

I don’t want to cut it off because, can’t cut the power supply so just stand clear if (powerlines) are going down. If I lose my power, I lose my water supply, so I don’t want to cut it.

Dispatch, it’s Moody. I need somebody to talk to Aquila. See if it’s possible to keep this pump on down here at Lakeshore. Somehow just cut the power off to the areas affected—Uplands, Viewcrest, probably south of Barnaby— but I need the power on at this pumphouse or I lose my water. Or talk to Vos, make sure I get water somehow. I have to have it on Barnaby Road. If it means leaving the power on lets do it.

Moody, tender 106. I’ve got a military crew here, wants to fall some trees along the ridgeline on Barnaby is that OK?

Go for it. They have to be very very portable. This fire is travelling at an extreme rate. I am at Uplands, I am about a half a mile away from a category six firestorm that is taking everything in its path.

Copy that. Category six firestorm.

Dispatch, this is Moody. Is there any chance there might be somebody in the air telling me what is going to happen at Barnaby Road?

What do you need Len, it’s TF-3.

I just want to know when it is going to hit us at Barnaby Road.

Roger that, have you talked to 51 Lima at all?

He’s got no eyes. He can’t see it, it is too smoky.

Roger. That’s a long way from Barnaby.

It won’t be long. It’ll be there.

Moody, TF-1: Yeah we are up at west end of Kettle Valley. I have just taken a head count, everyone’s accounted for. We got some of the trucks out, some of the hose. We are going to start sending some of the trucks up.

Yeah, just try taking a defensive position in there. They tell me the reservoir is full up there I just had a look so be real careful on your water I don’t know how long I am going to keep it going to you. I’ve got a Category Six at least going along Lakeshore Road it is probably going to take out that pump station, that is all the water I am going to have is in the reservoir.

Moody this is Marine Rescue 2. The pump station down at the nudie beach looks very safe as long as the power is on to it.

I need you to go in there Marine Rescue 2 and deploy your pump in there and see if you can keep that pump station going. If it gets risky in there, get out. But I need that pump station as long as I can have it.

TIME CHECK 6:15 p.m.

Marine Rescue Two: The helicopter is making numerous drops around the pumping station here. It looks pretty secure here now.

I still need you on the scene there. If you can do anything, do it.

Roger. Right now we’re just staying out of the helicopter’s way because he is right in there close. But we’ll keep an eye on it.

Yeah, I need that pump station if you can rescue it. Can you see that fire coming at us down Lakeshore?

Pretty smoky, no.

TIME CHECK: 6:23 p.m.

Dispatch, go ahead (Assistant Chief Rene) Blanleil.

We’re up here—Stewart Road east—we have a 3 km wide fire. Coming down the hill…suggest…evacuation for Gallaghers Canyon, south of that probably down as far as KLO Road, over.

Roger that. Gallagher’s Canyon as far down south as KLO Road.

—one coming up here on the right, there’s structures on fire and their backyard.

You should be able to save this one, there’s a hydrant right on the corner. Then the next one you should be able to save too if we can get at it right away.

Copy. We’ll guard the fire and we’ll get at ‘er.

The other thing I don’t know is, there’s a house here on your left it’s fully involved it’s just spreading to the other ones. Maybe you can get into this one to have a look on it. And keep your ears up. I don’t know where that firestorm six is coming from but lets try and save these two anyway.

TF-5 Loken: Is there a chance that a food wagon can come up this way? Some of these guys are getting hungry.

Roger that, we’ll co-ordinate something.

Thank you.

Dispatch this is Moody. Can you tell me if the power is off to Kettle Valley?

Dispatch this is Moody. I need Aquila. I have powerlines down all across the road, I cannot get my pumpers out. I’ve gone into Chute Lake, I will pick ‘em up there. It seems like it’s perfectly safe for working on it.

Time Check 6:48 p.m.

TF-4, TF-6. I’ve got some groceries down here, you were hungry? Where are you?

Go to Stewart Road east and Crawford.

Roger.

Moody, 108: Len we’re holding off this one house, we’ve got six in between and we got three more going. So if you could get another engine up here it would sure be a help.

I’ll send you a tender with a pump on it. There’s two actually coming up to your location right there on Chute Lake Road.

Len, dispatch: Power is definitely off to Kettle Valley.

I can guarantee that? I can bring my trucks through and hit those hydro lines?

They guarantee us that power is off to Kettle Valley and that the ETA of 10 minutes for the—Didn’t get any information on Chute Lake just that the power was off to Kettle Valley.

TF-1, Mitchell, are your ears up?

Go ahead, dispatch.

Cannot confirm that any of the wires on old Chute Lake Road are dead, either.

So neither one of them have confirmation of dead wires on them? Thank you. I think old Chute Lake road is clear it’s just the new part of it I need and there’s some houses there I need to protect, so it would be nice if they could hustle their butts.

He’s hurrying as fast as he can.

Command, this is dispatch: I have confirmation gas is off to Crawford estates. Gas is off to Crawford Estates.

Moody, firehall dispatch. Give the chief a landline when you get a moment, please.

Roger. I can do that.

TIME CHECK 7:35 p.m.

TF-6 from Firehall: Larry, apparently the pump house at the nudie beach has lost power and we’re not going to be able to get it back up, but we do have a stand-by generator and preparing to send that. Some guys in with it but can you assure there’s an escort in? That they’ll be safe?

Absolutely, no problem. We gotta’ keep that going.

Len this is Neil. Be advised, the fire has jumped Stewart Road east, it is burning in an easterly direction.

Do we have anything up there to stop it?

— tied up in Crawford, we’re going to try to keep Crawford.

Do the best you can. Staging 6, if you could deploy some of these engines off of Barnaby up to Crawford we’ll do that.

Yeah, we’re on it Len, that’s exactly what we’re doing now. Taking everything off there that doesn’t have to be there.

Larry, we have the ability to draw out of swimming pools with a front-mounted pump. We’ve just been released from TF-5 and under your command now.

Okay come down to staging.

Which is where right now Larry?

Chute Lake and Barnaby.

We’re on our way.

mjones@kelownacapitalnews.com

Article by Judie Steeves on Thermal Imaging of Watershed, Fish Spawning, Shade, Riparian Areas, Stream Temperature, Climate Change, Energy Losses, Etc.

A thermograph of a section of the Coldwater River (with matching photograph below) illustrates dramatically the impact of the loss of vegetation along the banks. In the thermograph, yellow is 60 C, and temperatures drop through orange, red and pink to 40C, then through purple, green, light blue, dark blue and darker blue to 20C. Note the location of trees, and what a difference in temperature there is in their vicinity. Even the location of rocks in the river can be identified by their thermal signature. Where such man-made construction as roads occur, temperatures soar, and that’s reflected on adjacent watercourses. Photo contributed
A thermograph of a section of the Coldwater River (with matching photograph below) illustrates dramatically the impact of the loss of vegetation along the banks. In the thermograph, yellow is 60 C, and temperatures drop through orange, red and pink to 40C, then through purple, green, light blue, dark blue and darker blue to 20C. Note the location of trees, and what a difference in temperature there is in their vicinity. Even the location of rocks in the river can be identified by their thermal signature. Where such man-made construction as roads occur, temperatures soar, and that’s reflected on adjacent watercourses. Photo contributed

By Judie Steeves – Staff Reporter (Capital News, Kelowna, British Columbia)
By recording information that’s beyond the visible spectrum about streams, watersheds and heat escapement from buildings, it’s possible to pinpoint where there are problems so they can be corrected.

Infrared thermal imaging is not new technology, but Curtis Bennett’s application of it, and his ability to interpret it, is.

Using thermographs, Bennett says he can save time, energy, lives and money.

He admits quite frankly he’s fascinated about the technology.

He has recently completed training as an engineering technologist, to add to his training as a certified electrician and a thermographer or heat specialist.

His assistant in his Kelowna-based company called Thermografix, is experienced in carpentry and construction and agriculture.

Doing thermographs of a complex manufacturing facility or a residence can help pinpoint heat losses, perhaps where insulation is missing or damaged; or hot areas where friction is occurring or there are electrical problems.

Often they’re areas missed by regular building inspections.

Doing thermographs of creeks or watersheds can indicate where riparian planting would help reduce the heating of adjacent water for healthier fish habitat, or where it’s already been done as required.

It can also indicate where fish may be adversely impacted by temperatures.

Understanding the effects of solar gain on specific areas, how it becomes a heat source for the area, adjacent water or atmosphere is vital to proper interpretation of thermographs, Bennett says.

It’s important to understand that heat often dissipates for a long time after sundown.

Bennett has done some work for Henderson Environmental Consulting of Kelowna mapping streams this year and forest hydrologist Greg Henderson sees many potential applications for the technology.

But first, Henderson carried out a test to ensure the technology was accurate by comparing Bennett’s temperature mapping from a helicopter, with water temperatures taken on the ground using a certified thermometer.

The result: it was within .4 of a degree.

The resulting thermographs dramatically show the impact of vegetation in reducing ground temperatures and that of adjacent streams.

It has the advantage of speed and of being archived for continual future reference.

Henderson believes it could also be used for tracing plumes of contamination in water courses, for detecting groundwater springs and other inflow sources.

It’s possible the technology would also be helpful in detecting attacks by pine beetles before they’re visible to the eye, in counting deer, moose and other animals, and in detecting toxic spills and when cleanup has been completed.

“It has opened the eyes of some companies,” Henderson says.

Collecting the data is pretty straightforward, but interpreting it is critical as everything has a thermal signature, he emphasizes.

Such data can easily be mis-interpreted. That’s why, for instance, Bennett insists on taking thermographs of both the inside and outside of a building.

Bennett hastens to add it’s not his intention to be critical of other methods of monitoring or doing inspections, but he says some of them are obsolete compared to thermography.

In the process of using it for different applications, Bennett has unearthed some more serious concerns about the amount of heat loss and waste that’s incurred because of poor construction and about the validity of some building code regulations.

For instance, he made recommendations to former premier Dave Barrett’s commission on the leaky condo fiasco after discovering that many of the vents for dryers in suites didn’t vent directly outside the building, and didn’t use the manufacturer’s recommended venting material.

A gallon of water is dried from a load of laundry, estimates Bennett, and it must be properly vented outside or it will cause the building to deteriorate and potentially fatal molds to grow inside buildings.

He believes every building should be scanned thermally to detect such problems.

Sharing the information he has amassed is another passion of Bennett’s, and he’s willing to speak to industry, groups or individuals interested in learning more about the technology.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com