Firefighters using drone technology to help battle wildfires

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The Woodbury Fire has now burned more than 123,000 acres and as of Wednesday afternoon, it is 48% percent contained.

As firefighting efforts continue, crews are using new technology to help fight the fire. Video of helicopters and even a jumbo DC-10 fighting this fire with water drops have been seen many times, but there's also a mini flying machine making a major difference by being another set of eyes from the skies. Safe to say it's not your daddy's drone.

The M-600 unmanned aircraft system has helped to take on the Woodbury Fire. It takes a two-person crew, a pilot and watchman. The unmanned aircraft soars up to 8,000 feet, with a three-mile radius for up 40 minutes per flight.

It's equipped with two cameras, which includes an infrared lens that can detect ground heat to see hotspots before they light up. It not only surveys the landscape, but it can drop little ping-pong-like balls filled with a chemical accelerant to set off back burns. They begin to spin a few seconds after hitting the ground, and a tiny flame starts to shoot out, hopefully igniting a back burn fire.

Mostly, however, the M-600 is made to go where no man or woman should have to go, like the steep slopes of the superstitions, where the Woodbury Fire made its mark.

In the near future, these drones will be able to deliver supplies, like water and first aid kits, to fire crews in need.