In Italy they are installing new sensors in their forests in order to hopefully foresee and prevent forest fires. This project comes from a partnership between Vodafone Business and Extreme E which is an off-road electric race series.
The sensors use Internet of Things (IoT) technology and can operate without cellular coverage. These sensors are installed on the tree trunks in order to detect gas during the fire's smoldering phase. If a fire is detected before it fully takes hold the reaction time of fire services can be reduced, thereby enabling them to contain the fire before it spreads uncontrollably.
“Think of it as a smart forest,” said Reuben Kingsland, an IoT and cloud specialist at Vodafone Business to Euronews.next.
“Those sensors talk to each other across the forest and connect back to this, which is the gateway that sits at the edge of the forest”.
The sensors are connected to a cloud-based alert center and that means it’s faster than when cameras or satellites are used.
“Comparing it to other solutions, you can use satellite imagery, but that can take up to a month for those satellite images to come back. Or you can use cameras within a forest area, but that can take hours before you notice the smoking fire,” Matt Green, a technology specialist at Vodafone Business, explained.
“The detections that are done here are at the smoldering stage, so much earlier on, and you can detect a fire within minutes rather than in hours or days,” he added.
“One of the biggest things happening in climate change at the moment is forest fires across the world and ultimately, the solution which we're deploying will prevent forest fires from happening in the future,” said Kingsland.
If wildfires can be caught before they fully get a hold in forests, lots of important and beautiful nature can be preserved and with it critical ecosystems.