Planet Care

99: Digital nose forest fire alarm


Raging wildfires continue to wipe out not only homes but also huge swathes of natural land, from Australia to California and dozens of other countries in between.  In a wildfire, each minute matters; a fire might move as quickly as 14 mph , so early detection might mean saving a few miles of forest and potentially stopping the blaze before it reaches homes


“Digital nose” forest fire alarm.

Entel Ocean of Santiago, Chile’s largest telecommunications company teamed up with the AI start-up DataRobot to produce a sensor which can literally “sniff” the air in forests to alert fire-fighters in case of fire.

Using an IOT sensor, these “digital noses”, (vigilante digital ) small, very sturdy white boxes that are installed high up on a tree, are not only able to identify fine particles, but also the humidity and temperature of forest air. Once collected, this data is fed into a system that uses artificial intelligence to determine with great precision the type of smoke and the danger posed to the forest.

When a strong threat is identified, a message is sent to the nearest firefighting teams to intervene as quickly as possible.

This is much less expensive than installing cameras. For its pilot phase, Data Robot and Entel Ocean installed 300 sensors in the Chilean forests reporting that they have saved up to 12 minutes between the time of detecting a fire and responding to firefighters.

What you can do: Tell forestry personnel about digital noses.

Tomorrow’s solution:Dish washing without detergent.

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