Wildfires are capricious—and deadly. To prevent blazes from destroying land and harming humans and animals, TIME reports that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a new satellite technology system called FireSat to predict the locations of future conflagrations.
FireSat uses infrared sensors to tell when a wildfire has grown to an alarming 35 to 50 feet wide within 15 minutes of its start. This can allow fire prevention services to suppress the flames before they get out of control. The system also transmits images once a minute. According to NASA, this surpasses the capabilities of already-existing satellite technology, which sends fire images only several times a day.
JPL scientists aim to have FireSat operational by 2018.