Global warming, changing forestry practices and human activities have led to a global growth in the frequency and severity of wildfires, resulting in the need for increased fire management budgets. Hence, early detection and immediate suppression systems are crucial to reducing the impact of a fire outbreak. The Horizon 2020 DANTE project developed an integrated low-cost solution for the early detection of wild fires. Researchers devised an alarm system featuring advanced methods for reporting and managing a fire within seconds of it starting. The DANTE system provides the georeferenced coordinates of the fire source and accurately tracks the fire’s progress, guiding firefighting operations as a real-time navigator. “DANTE is compatible with existing control rooms and remotely managed from either a control centre, or a smart phone connected to the internet,” says project coordinator Luis Crespo Fernández. First of its kind Fire is detected by image processing algorithms and an alarm is sent remotely to the control room within seconds of the blaze starting. The system then provides all the critical information required by firefighters to extinguish the blaze. “The system is designed to be the first real-time navigator that tracks the wildfire, providing a notification of the nature and location of the fire source in less time and with higher accuracy and at a lower cost than current methods,” Crespo Fernández explains. Researchers created a series of prototypes embedded in inexpensive hardware platforms, drawing interest from potential clients and intended end-users. Furthermore, the project received the award of overall winner of the Copernicus Masters Disaster Management Challenge (best European project for Disaster Management) and winner of the ESNC Catalonia (best Catalan project using satellite navigation). DANTE has the potential to halve the yearly budget of public and private entities dedicated to wildfire extinction and detection. The market for forest fire detection and suppression encompasses both public and private sector landowners, which represent a business opportunity in the region of EUR 15.4 billion worldwide. Economic, environmental and societal benefits In addition, DANTE opens new routes to market by delivering services to insurance companies monitoring high-value assets or infrastructure operators interested in offering DANTE as a service. DANTE’s unique selling points are that it solves a global problem offering a better performance compared to current state of the art and at a lower cost. According to Crespo Fernández, the DANTE system will have substantial beneficial impact on the conservation of archaeological and cultural sites, agricultural lands, timber industry, and endangered species. “It will also help to reduce the post-fire environment effects such as accelerated flooding, soil erosion, mass movement and pollution of water bodies, among others,” he concludes.
DANTE, wildfire, forest, management, alarm, tracking