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China pilots wildfire detection sensor network

China has developed a sensor work that will shorten the fire detection lead time to less than five minutes. A test run of the system was successfully conducted recently in the forest area in Qingyuan prefecture, Guangdong province.
While forests play an important role in global climate and environment, wildfire is common occurrence in China, especially in dry winter, challenges the environmental balance and causes losses in lives and property. According to data release by China’s State Forestry Administration, around 2 per cent of the country’s forest area, or 28 times the landmass of Hong Kong, is destroyed by wildfire every year.

As compete prevention of wildfire is not possible, the best way to protect forests from such fire is early detection and response. Currently the country relies on manned lookout towers and reports from forest visitors to detect fire. Satellite imagery system was also deployed but they are only able to detect large scale fire, rather than occurrences in their early stages; in addition, analysing infrared images is a difficult task, sometimes taking the operators more than one hour to locate the exact fire scene.

More info here.