Recently, the early and intense wildfire season in Alberta, Canada has caused an evacuation of over 30.000 people to save them from the devastating results of the fires. The emergence of alarming summer-like temperatures in certain areas of the Mediterranean, the presence of scorching heat that melts roads in South Asia, and the devastating floods caused by torrential rain in Congo-Kinshasa are all indicative of the impacts of human-induced climate change during this spring season. These events serve as somber indicators of what may lie ahead in the future. According to the data from Copernicus’ European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), 2022 was the second-worst year for wildfires in Europe in terms of the number of fires as well as the burnt area since records began in 2000. Across Europe, fires in 45 countries burnt about the size of Montenegro.
Wildfires have become an increasingly alarming concern, inflicting widespread devastation on ecosystems, communities, and human lives. With climate change exacerbating the frequency and severity of these destructive events, effective wildfire prevention strategies have become a critical necessity. What can be done in order to prevent wildfires? That’s where smart tech and IoT come in – WildfireTech!
How can technology help with wildfires?
By integrating advanced technology solutions with traditional firefighting practices, we can enhance early detection, improve response times, and proactively prevent wildfires from occurring or spreading further.
The destructive power of wildfires is fuelled by a combination of environmental factors, including dry conditions, high temperatures, and flammable vegetation. Smart technology plays a vital role in monitoring and analysing these factors to provide timely warnings and critical insights. State-of-the-art sensors deployed across high-risk areas continuously collect data on temperature, humidity, wind speed, and vegetation moisture content. This real-time information is transmitted to a central system that utilizes sophisticated algorithms to analyse patterns and identify potential fire threats. By leveraging these insights, authorities and emergency response teams can mobilize quickly, allocate resources efficiently, and implement targeted strategies to combat wildfires effectively.
In addition to early detection, smart technology enables proactive measures to prevent wildfires. Drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras and AI algorithms can conduct aerial surveys to identify hotspots and areas at risk of ignition. This enables focused efforts such as the removal of flammable debris, controlled burns, or the application of fire-retardant materials. Smart irrigation systems integrated with weather forecasts and soil moisture sensors optimize water usage in high-risk zones, ensuring vegetation remains adequately hydrated, reducing the likelihood of ignition. These proactive measures mitigate the potential for wildfires to occur or escalate, safeguarding vulnerable regions and ecosystems.
Lastly, through interconnected devices and real-time communication channels, firefighters, emergency management agencies, meteorological services, and local communities can exchange critical information, coordinate strategies, and make informed decisions collaboratively. This synergy maximizes the effectiveness of firefighting operations, optimizes resource allocation, and enhances community resilience in the face of wildfires.
Considering the devastating impact of wildfires across the globe, and the alarming prognosis of even more of them happening in the near future, we’ve decided to spotlight a few start-ups that focus on WildfireTech. Let’s take a look at who accelerates this market globally.
Top 5 WildfireTech Start-Ups:
Berlin-based Dryad Networks developed large-scale IoT network of sensors to detect wildfires and to provide valuable forest insights and analytics. Founded in 2020, the company is at a forefront when it comes to WildfireTech in Europe.
As Carsten Brinkschulte, the CEO of Dryad Networks, told us about his company’s mission:
“Dryad is an impact for profit company. We are focusing on developing solutions that provide meaningful and measurable impact while at the same time provide a profitable business model. And we don’t mean impact as a marketing slogan. We only work on projects if there is clear impact, but also require profits, so we cannot engage in charity projects. Our initial mission is to build wireless IoT networks in the forest and to protect the environment from devastating wildfires with ultra-early detection using solar-powered gas sensors. With this, we are addressing one of the main drivers of climate change, wildfires, which are creating up to 20% of global CO2 emissions and have a devastating effect on biodiversity.”
Poland-based Smoked is a developer of an AI-powered fire detection system aimed at creating a system that detects fires before they become too large to be effectively controlled.
The company is currently helping to monitor 4 million hectares and is present in 7 different countries. Smoked utilizes smoke detectors, applications and drones to continuously monitor the areas that need protection. The company was founded in 2017, and their systems have been used by clients such as The City of Hidden Hills, California, USA.
US-based Instinct develops environmental monitoring solutions to protect forests and natural resources. They offer a wide range of monitoring services from forest management to agricultural monitoring, but they also focus on wildfire prevention with specialized sensors and its environmental telemetry platform. The company was founded in 2021 and so far has raised pre-seed funding.
Another US-based company on our list, Rainforest Connection offers a real-time monitoring system for protecting and studying remote ecosystems. Their platform includes biodiversity analysis tools, threat detection tools, and a suite of hardware that enables global partners, governments, corporations, scientists, and ecologists to truly understand impacts on ecosystems and guide conservation management. Rainforest Connection was founded in 2013 and in November 2022 they received investment from an accelerator.
Last but not least, London-based Internet of Trees provides an early warning system to protect forests and prevent fires from spreading. Their solution integrates IoT technology and environmental knowledge to detect temperature and humidity variations, smoke, gases, and flames through internet-connected modules installed in critical areas. Their system allows the key stakeholder to be notified via SMS in case of an alarm. The company was founded in 2017, and they work with governmental organizations, NGOs and Meteorological Data Scientists as well as Agroindustrial companies.
In conclusion, the increasing threat of wildfires fuelled by climate change demands effective strategies to prevent and mitigate their devastating impacts. Smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) are emerging as powerful tools in the fight against wildfires, enabling early detection, proactive measures, and enhanced collaboration among stakeholders. As wildfires continue to pose a significant threat globally, these advancements in WildfireTech offer hope for more proactive and efficient strategies to combat these destructive events. By harnessing the power of technology, we can strive towards a future where wildfires are detected early, prevented whenever possible, and their devastating impacts are minimized, protecting both human lives and precious ecosystems.
Storm4 partners with the most disruptive GreenTech’s around the world, so if you have any hiring need’s you’d like us to help with, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Together, we can build a more sustainable tomorrow.