Shoot From the Stars: Startup Provides Early Detection of Wildfires From Space

    Wildfires are responsible for about 6 percent of the planet’s CO2 emissions, according to Earth System Science DataAustralia’s bushfire season of 2019-2020 alone saw over 46 million acres of land devastated by wildfire, including the loss of almost half a billion mammals, birds and reptiles.

    NVIDIA Inception member OroraTech is addressing these issues head-on with its wildfire detection and monitoring service.

    Combining data from predominantly satellites but also ground-based cameras, aerial observations and local weather information, the Munich-based startup is taking on the challenge of preventing one of today’s most prevalent disasters.

    “Wildfires are a natural phenomenon — but global warming is making it worse,” said Björn Stoffers, one of the company’s co-founders. “There are more droughts, pest infestation, higher temperatures and humans are building houses in wildfire-prone areas. Our goal is to monitor wildfires around the world and detect every fire within 30 minutes.”

    Detection From Start to Finish

    Data suggests global warming might be happening faster than we thought. Temperatures are rising, carbon dioxide levels are at their highest and extreme weather events are happening more frequently. Preventing wildfires is one route to reducing a sizable chunk of CO2 emissions, not to mention saving lives and property.

    OroraTech provides risk assessment features to help monitor areas before wildfires can appear. Its holistic approach analyzes a fire risk index, wind particle layers, and the greenness of vegetation and moisture levels to highlight vulnerable areas where a potential wildfire can easily spread.

    Early detection and real-time monitoring are used during an active wildfire. Using imagery from 19 satellites and many ground-based cameras, the company’s system can detect wildfires even in remote areas and then present visuals of the area and fire progression over time.

    In Mozambique’s Niassa Special Reserve, the Wildlife Conservation Society has already put OroraTech’s system to good use. Wildfire alerts enabled rangers to prevent a base camp from burning down with only 100 meters between the camp and the blaze.

    The system also provides damage analysis to review air pollution, fire origin and burned area after a wildfire has taken place.

    Read more on this story at Oratech

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    AerialFire Staff
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