CASE STUDY: Leveraging early and rapid detections to reduce wildfire suppression costs in Portugal
Rapid and early detection of wildfires through streamlined collection and delivery of geospatial intelligence can significantly improve suppression efforts and reduce timelines and costs. Overwatch Imaging wildfire division Business Development Executive, Greg Denton, presents a case study from recent missions in Portugal, where Overwatch fire mapping software and smart sensor imaging payloads are leveraged to collect and deliver rapid wildfire intelligence.
Background: The general wildfire outlook around the world is increasingly more alarming. Fires are more frequent in number, larger in scale, more destructive and more costly than ever. Despite record spending on suppression activities, wildfires continue on an upward trend in size, frequency and social, environmental and financial impacts. A new approach is needed.
Portugal use case: Light flashy fuel ecosystem similar to southern California, trend of fast moving fires, relatively short lived. Portugal is investing in new techniques and technologies to fight wildfires and has recently tested and deployed Overwatch Imaging systems to collect and deliver real-time fire intelligence.
Technology overview: Use case leverages Overwatch Imaging TK-series multispectral smart sensor payload and Overwatch AI software to collect fire data, process it on the edge in real time and deliver actionable intelligence quickly and efficiently.
Conclusion: The majority of small, flashy fires generally take under a week to control. If earlier detection and better, more actionable intelligence can reduce suppression and mop-up time by even one day, that scales up to a significant reduction in overall cost and improvement in response readiness.
"We want to avoid risk, we want to avoid breakout events from happening and we want to be able to use resources as efficiently as possible. Wildfires are extremely costly and extremely complex. There is no definitively answer to the "wildfire problem". But data has a lot of value here. It's relatively new to the firefighting industry and we hope there will be more adoption as the technology becomes more available."
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