Contrary to a widely shared popular belief, forest fires are not always caused by criminal actions. Depending on the location, fires may arise from natural causes, such as frequency of lightning during a storm, or even due to lack of knowledge of local farmers in carrying out routine activities like clearing pasture areas that involves fire. These combustion related activities requires thorough planning and correct timing.
In lined with this, Working On Fire (WOF) has extensive expertise in integrated fire management that combines prevention, readiness, response and recovery in possible environmental fires. It is responsible for the worldwide presence of Firehawk , a pioneer in the development of solutions to detect forest fires through cameras. It boasts 26 years of operation and 223 video surveillance cameras spread throughout South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Ghana and Malawi.
For four years, Firehawk has been cooperating with Dahua Technology Brazil, a branch of world-leading video-centric smart IoT solution and service provider. Few years ago, Firehawk installed DH-PTZ19245U-IRB-N (-B) model after series of tests. It provides excellent performance, offers useful web API documentation, and can withstand severe local weather conditions. For this reason, Firehawk has named Dahua Technology Brazil as its main partner for forest fire detection.
Massive wildfires, like the recent cases in Australia, have increased throughout the years, especially in countries such as USA, Portugal and Russia. According to a study by UN in cooperation with other major environmental agencies worldwide, governments should invest approximately 80% of their resources in the prevention of such disasters, and only 20% in the actual firefighting. In order to monitor and provide warning of possible occurrence of such event, WOF was contracted by Duratex, the largest producer of manufactured wood panels and sanitary wares and metals in the southern hemisphere, to deploy the Dahua Video Monitoring Solution in its Minas Gerais forest areas. It covers about 75 thousand hectares between the municipalities of Uberlândia and Uberaba. This mining region has several preservation areas, and is recognized for its sugar cane, eucalyptus, and coffee plantations. An effective fire monitoring solution that can cover such a vast area would be very challenging to deploy. Thus, expertise of WOF and Firehawk are very valuable to ensure excellent performance and satisfying results throughout the project.
At Duratex, a camera was installed in each of the five stationary 75-meter tall towers, which was carried out by WOF in just 20 days and completed in July 2019. This solution covers 60 thousand hectares of forest, monitoring the region and providing alerts for possible occurrence of fire. The company’s successful experience in working with Eldorado Celulose S/A was essential in minimizing the challenges of installing and applying this particular technological solution. “We have highly qualified partners for the execution of the project, which greatly simplifies its performance. The experience of working with the Dahua solution – applied by Firehawk worldwide – is very positive,” says Daniel Santos, General Director of WOF in Brazil.
“The Dahua video monitoring solution implemented at Duratex offers the reach of 60 thousand hectares of forest for monitoring the region and alerting to possible occurrences, carried out in an assertive and agile manner. Our company's main mission is to promote the safety of our customers in their businesses and core activities through a wide portfolio of solutions such as thermal, biometric, embedded software, etc. ” Explains Fábio Lopes, Channel Director of Dahua Technology Brazil.
In order to minimize connectivity issue that is common in remote regions, WOF installed directional radio links to enable the adoption of this technology. In some towers, they also installed electric power generating units with photovoltaic solar panels. Moreover, the five cameras capture and send images to the Monitoring Center, utilizing AI to verify the lowest sending traffic. “The addition of this system substantially improved the speed of detection of fires and the management of firefighting resources,” says Daniela Rezende, Protection Specialist of Duratex.
The technology embedded in the solution promotes a rapid evaluation of the images, with a 360-degree perimeter coverage, and algorithm for searching smoke signals. It operates both day and night, and in situations of imminent risk, it triggers a visual and audible alarm. In favorable weather conditions, it can also cover a distance that exceeds 20 km.
The Dahua solution greatly helped reduce fire cases in the Minas Gerais forest areas. Faced with good results, the company plans to set up a dozen of new cameras by the end of 2020 in the forest units of Duratex and its affiliates.
"Duratex is very satisfied with this solution, so much that in 2020 we are already working on expanding its coverage area in Minas Gerais. We also have plans to start a project in our São Paulo unit,” says Rezende.