Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra launches first advanced AI System for forest fire detection

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Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra launches first advanced AI System for forest fire detection

On June 26, 2024, the Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra made a groundbreaking announcement: the launch of an advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) system designed for the early detection of forest fires. This innovative technology represents a significant leap forward in forest fire management, promising to enhance the protection of the reserve’s vast and diverse ecosystem.

Cutting-Edge Technology

At the heart of this state-of-the-art system is a high-resolution pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera, which boasts a visual range of 15 kilometers. Strategically installed on an existing tower located on one of Pench’s highest hills, near the Kirringisarra village, this camera can effectively monitor over 350 square kilometers of the reserve. The hill, standing at approximately 540 meters above mean sea level, offers an ideal vantage point for extensive surveillance.

Complementing the camera is a control room situated in the West Pench range office in Kolitmara. This facility is equipped to process data from the camera as well as integrate alerts from fifteen commercial satellite services, which Pench authorities have hailed as a pioneering approach in forest fire management.

The AI-Powered Pantera Platform

The AI platform, named Pantera, utilizes both the camera feed and satellite data to provide real-time alerts of forest fires within three minutes of detection. This rapid response capability marks a significant improvement over traditional methods that relied solely on satellite-based alerts.

One of Pantera’s standout features is its ability to distinguish between smoke and clouds, thanks to its built-in infrared capabilities. Operating 24/7, the system ensures accurate and reliable alerts by minimizing false alarms. Additionally, it can analyze environmental data such as temperature, precipitation, and wind patterns to forecast potential fire incidents, aiding in proactive fire management.

Enhancing Forest Fire Management

The new AI system is designed to integrate seamlessly with other resources like water tanks and forest vehicles equipped with GPS, allowing for real-time tracking and management of these assets during fire incidents. This integration enhances the forest department’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to emerging threats.

According to the forest department, the deployment of this system is expected to significantly improve forest fire management practices. The swift detection and alert mechanism will enable rapid response efforts, potentially saving vast areas of forest land and protecting the diverse wildlife that inhabits the reserve.

Collaborative Effort and Funding

The successful implementation of this advanced AI system is the result of a collaborative effort involving the Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra; the Satpuda Foundation; Umgrameio from Brazil; and Forest Fire Tech, a division of Scaale Inc, USA. Financial support for the project came from Solar Industries India Ltd, Nagpur, and the Maharashtra government.

This initiative underscores the importance of leveraging modern technology and international collaboration in conservation efforts, ensuring that natural reserves like Pench can be protected and preserved for future generations.

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