ForestGuard Satellite System Protects Forests From Wildfires
Asia/ Terra/ Sustainability

ForestGuard Sensor System Detects Wildfires and Drives Climate Change

Forest Guard Sensor System Detects Wildfires and Drives Climate Change Header

Wildfires can wreak havoc on ecosystems and contribute to the vicious cycle of climate change. However, a group of Turkish recent design graduates has developed an ingenious solution called ForestGuard, which employs satellite-enabled sensors to detect wildfires before they spread or even start.

ForestGuard, part of the Designing for Disaster series spotlighted by Dezeen, functions like the Internet of Things for woodland environments. The system involves fitting sensors to trees, which can detect changes in the air and promptly alert local authorities if a fire is present. Remarkably, only one sensor is required for every 16 hectares of forest, making it highly efficient. One of the key advantages of ForestGuard is its ability to distinguish between different types of emissions, enabling it to avoid false positives. By differentiating between wildfire smoke and other emissions like cigarette smoke or car exhaust, the system ensures accurate and reliable fire detection.

ForestGuard’s chief technology officer, Suat Batuhan Esirger, highlighted that the product significantly reduces the time it takes for firefighters to be notified of a fire, from an average of 90 minutes to just 15. This swift response time allows for prompt action, as demonstrated in a recent incident on the Turkish archipelago of Princes’ Islands. Thanks to ForestGuard, firefighters were able to extinguish a wildfire when it had only burned through an area the size of a dining table.

Esirger and the ForestGuard team began working on this innovative solution after the devastating 2021 Turkey wildfires, where they provided volunteer assistance. Their goal was to create a system that harnesses the trees themselves as notifiers, thereby enhancing wildfire detection capabilities.

ForestGuard employs trained machine-learning algorithms to measure and analyse temperature, humidity, air pressure, and gas levels, effectively identifying the presence of a fire. The system’s sensors are connected to the internet via satellite connectivity provided by EchoStar, making it resilient to disasters.

ForestGuard’s algorithms not only enable faster disaster response but also facilitate prevention. By collecting data from the sensors, ForestGuard can predict when conditions are conducive to wildfires. This information empowers firefighters to take proactive measures, such as clearing dried brush or spraying water, to mitigate the risk of fire outbreaks.

The affordability and effectiveness of ForestGuard are noteworthy as well. The system can protect 500 trees at an annual cost of just US$1 when the devices remain in place for five years.

ForestGuard has already won the Turkish hearts of the James Dyson Award 2023 and is currently competing against regional winners worldwide. With devices already available for sale in Turkey, ForestGuard aims to expand its market presence to countries like France, Australia, and the USA.

Esirger envisions ForestGuard as more than just a regional firefighting tool. He hopes that it will contribute to a united global effort to combat climate change and minimise the impact of wildfires. By breaking the cycle of wildfires and carbon dioxide emissions, ForestGuard represents a powerful step towards a more sustainable future.

As wildfires continue to pose a significant threat worsened by climate change it is crucial for design disciplines to adopt a holistic and synthesized approach. ForestGuard’s innovative solution sets a precedent for addressing the problem of wildfires and driving climate action.

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