Slash and burn fires are set every day to destroy large sections of forests. Of course, these forests don’t just remove trees they kill and displace wildlife, alter water cycles and soil fertility, and endanger the lives and livelihoods of local communities. Now all these are going to solve soon because in Kerala a group of BTech students at Amrita Vishya Vidyapeetham developed a forest fire early detection system by using UAV and advanced computation technology which detects fires at an early stage and alert officials quickly by relaying GPS location.

This system is currently being used in Wayanad district and its prototype is costing around Rs 25,000. The system is being funded by Kerala government’s forest and wildlife department. There are many forest fires alert system which are used in many states across the country but the system developed by Amrita Vishya Vidyapeetham can detect fires at an early stage and also provide live streaming of location to forest officials to avoid a false alarm. Whereas the existing detection system which uses the satellite imagery only takes landscape photos of affected region and relays them to forest officials after a gap of two days and always making it difficult to stop spread of forest fires immediately. Now this system formed by Amrita Vishya Vidyapeetham is known by name “Agni Kavaj” This Kavaj consists of gliders that carry two cameras , a video telemetry unit, GPS module, smoke sensor and microcontroller. It functions as If normal fire image is detected in forest then the communication part is made active to check the amount of carbon dioxide present in atmosphere. Smoke sensors monitored the readings and if the reading is above a particular threshold level then the communication part gets active and send alert messages of fire location to forest officials Whereas the second camera of glider gives live streaming of location to forest officials to avoid a false alarm. Every year large areas of forests are affected by fire of varying intensity and extent. As per forest inventory records 54.40% of forests in India are exposed to occasional fires, 7.49% to moderately frequent fires and 2.40% to high incidence levels while 35.71% of India’s forests have not been exposed to fires of any real significance. In 2018 total 37059 fires were detected using MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro- radiometer) sensor data.

By Rupali Thakur

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