Victoria firefighters have a new eye in the sky.

As a powerful blaze gutted a character home on McClure Street Monday, crews got a view of the flames they had never seen before.

For the first time in the city’s history, the department launched an unmanned aerial drone equipped with a thermal camera.

As it hovered above the blaze, Victoria Deputy Fire Chief Dan Atkinson said the trajectory of modern firefighting changed.

“This is the future,” he told CTV News. "It allows us to see through things like smoke, the ability to see in darkness. It allows us to see hot spots and areas of concern.”

Worth roughly $25,000, the quad-rotor drone carries a 4K standard video camera and also a state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera.

Thermal imaging allows fire crews on the ground to see hot spots in real time, and better predict which way the fire may move.

“It is going to result in property saved, it’s going to result in a higher level of safety and even lives saved," said Atkinson.

Drone technology is being widely adopted by first responders on southern Vancouver Island. Langford Fire and Rescue has used drones to help located missing hikers on Mount Finlayson, and Saanich Police are using computer programed drones to map vehicle crash scenes.

Victoria’s fire department says Monday’s maiden voyage of its drone is only the beginning.

“Much like the Dalmatian used to break the way for the horses, I think the U.A.V. (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) might be making its way to the scene first," said Atkinson.

Firefighters are already envisioning a not-so-distant future where flying drones would leave the fire hall before trucks and crew to report the seriousness of a blaze.

Victoria Fire Department has been training for over a year to launch its drone program and has four licensed pilots.