ForestGuard: Redefining Wildfire Prevention

In the realm of disaster preparedness, a group of innovative Turkish design graduates has birthed a groundbreaking solution: ForestGuard. Highlighted by Dezeen as part of the ‘Designing for Disaster’ series, this cutting-edge sensor system is poised to revolutionize wildfire detection.

“Like an Internet of Things tailored for forests, ForestGuard deploys sensors on trees to sense shifts in the air, promptly alerting authorities at the first sign of a fire.”

Each sensor, equipped to cover 16 hectares or approximately 16,000 trees, discerns various emissions, distinguishing wildfire smoke from other sources like cigarettes or vehicular exhausts. The essence lies in its precision: detecting fires before they burgeon.

HOW IT WORKS


ForestGuard, an IoT-based system linked to satellites, offers real-time fire detection. AI-infused gas classification empowers it to flag fires swiftly, enabling intervention before escalation.

The system operates as a forest-wide network, utilizing sensor-to-satellite communication through the S-Band RF channel. These modules boast sensitive, broad-spectrum sensors measuring gas levels, temperature, humidity, and air pressure, deciphering diverse scenarios. Custom-designed boards, fuelled by Edge AI and trained ML algorithms, differentiate wildfire smoke, curbing false alarms and unwarranted efforts.

Mounted on tree trunks via flexible straps, these sensor modules facilitate tree growth. In crisis situations, they transmit collected data to GeoStationary satellites, then to Earth and servers. Verified emergencies trigger immediate alerts to authorities and fire-fighters, slashing response time to less than 15 minutes.

DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT JOURNEY

Commencing in August 2021, ForestGuard evolved through successful PoCs. The team crafted power-efficient main boards by February 2022, integrating Li-Ion Hyper Capacitors and solar panels for enduring operation without fire hazards. Anti-tamper features, over-the-air updates, and modularity for diverse communication protocols ensued.

Employing forest-sourced plastics in manufacturing minimizes wildfire risk and environmental impact. In 2023, with small-scale production, over 200 modules found deployment in Turkey.

UNPARALLELED ADVANTAGES


ForestGuard’s prowess lies in its swiftness, affordability, easy installation sans infrastructure, and its knack for detecting fires at an ultra-early, smoke-based stage. Unlike traditional methods, it gauges fire initiation beneath tree canopies, predicting wildfires even before ignition.

Recent trials showcased detection capability within the initial 10 minutes and from a 150-meter radius. Direct satellite connectivity simplifies installation, ensuring functionality despite GSM infrastructure collapse.

Cost-effectiveness shines through, with a single module safeguarding 16 hectares, protecting 500 trees at just a dollar annually.

FUTURE VISIONS


With 250 active modules in Turkey and plans for a France headquarters, ForestGuard’s expansion to the EU beckons. Current patrons span energy distribution, forestry ministries, hotels, ESG, and insurance sectors. The roadmap includes industrial facilities in forested zones and collaboration with governmental bodies for disaster-ready sensor modules catering to earthquakes and floods.

ForestGuard’s narrative extends beyond mere wildfire prevention, setting its sights on a multi-pronged disaster preparedness approach.

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