Wildfires. Project will help fight fires in the Parque das Serras do Porto, Notícias ao Minuto

17 de May de 2023
The Parque das Serras do Porto has, as of today, optical cameras, digital sensors and a robot for the defense and management of the forest against fires, in a 5.6 million euro project.

Comprising six mountain ranges — Santa Justa, Pias, Castiçal, Santa Iria, Flores and Banjas, the park covers the municipalities of Gondomar, Paredes and Valongo, in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, and extends over almost 6,000 hectares, an area that will now be under the surveillance of the rePLANT project.

The technological project that will be presented today in Senhora do Salto, in Paredes, brings together companies, universities and research centers for the recovery and defense of the forest, using innovative technologies for the defense and management of the forest and fire, says the statement sent to Lusa.

Four optical cameras will monitor the forest “helping to simulate and predict fire behavior,” a technological resource accompanied by “new digital sensors and processes for forestry machines and the use of robotics in forestry operations to clean the forests,” the press release continues.

rePLANT is supported by Compete/Portugal 2020, through the POCI [Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Program] and Lisbon 2020 programs, and brings together 20 entities, among leading companies in the sector and non-business entities of R&I [Research and Innovation], in a common and coordinated effort to contribute to a greater valorization of the Portuguese forest, through the implementation of strategies for integrated forest and fire management,” reads the project description.

The initiative, led by The Navigator Forest Portugal and CoLAB ForestWISE, brings together the main partners of the project (REN [Redes Energéticas Nacionais], University of Coimbra, whereness, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Altri, INESC TEC, Trigger, Fravizel) in the presentation of four innovations.

The first, a support system for forest fire monitoring, is composed of optical and thermal cameras, installed on REN’s poles, in the park’s territory aimed at protecting and anticipating the impact of rural fires on the forest, providing real-time images, with information about the weather and vegetation.

The scientific research will make it possible to simulate fire behavior and monitor fires, contributing to the resilience and integrity of the forest and infrastructure, reads the first statement.

The mobile applications for forest inventory are the second resource now present in the park, and the “information collected allows to know the number of trees, the volume and other information of quantitative and qualitative nature,” continues the statement.

“These mobile applications can be used by both small forest owners and associations, as well as large forestry companies, enabling very reliable, low-cost, simple and fast estimation,” he describes.

The third innovation, a digital integration of data in equipment throughout the value chain, “may allow, for example, the real-time management of forest machines, monitoring production, location, and movement of the cutting operation,” emphasizes the press release.

The Modular-E robot is the latest in the park for forest clearing tasks along plantation lines. With an accuracy of centimeter registration, this equipment has the ability to detect areas that need cleaning with a minimal margin of error. In addition, it is compact and accessible, making it a practical and economical solution for forest maintenance, he adds.

rePLANT is structured in three major areas of action: forest and fire management (led by Sonae Arauco and the Higher Institute of Agronomy of the University of Lisbon), risk management (under the coordination of REN and the University of Coimbra) and circular economy and value chains (under the management of The Navigator Company and ForestWISE).

The project began in July 2020 and has already enabled three optical cameras to be placed in the municipalities of Góis (Alvares, Cadafaz and Colmeal) and one in São Matias, in Nisa.

In, Notícias ao Minuto, 15 May 2023 (PT)