High-Tech Spy Planes Might Fight Fires

The U.S. Forest Service will launch the first real-life deployment next spring.

UAVs are by no means cheap _ an Altair costs upward of $1 million, while small UAVs are priced up to $100,000 each _ and they won't replace piloted aircraft.

But they're another set of eyes for firefighters.

''The more tools you have available in your toolbox,'' said Everett Hinkley, who heads the Forest Service's Remote Sensing Applications Center in Salt Lake City, ''the better job you can do.''