Every year we see online and on other news media get dominated by news of massive wildfires that ravage forested areas of the world. These are events of great proportion and incite damages reaching up to billions of dollars and could even lead to the loss of lives. Forest fires are especially hard to predict but happen quite frequently. A massive budget is allocated to fighting these catastrophes but little is done to help prevent it. Many kinds of research following the guidelines of an early forest fire warning system are currently undergoing trials but little to none of these systems are currently in operation around the world. Prevention mostly relies on making sure that hikers are conscientious about how they practice fire safety in their camps and in throwing lit cigarette butts around.
The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) could help make it possible to prevent any forest first from ever happening, or help prevent its spread. The internet has made it possible for great leaps of technological development. It is not only a place for people to interact and post pictures; it’s the best place to share information about ongoing research. Many scientists make use of the online world to gather data as well as to share the findings in their studies to other scientists as well as the general public.
The internet of things has also made it possible for people to live lives in remarkable comfort. Our smartphones are never without connection and through it; we can do just about anything. Hailing gab has never been easier. A few simple taps on our mobile phones and food is delivered to our doorstep. There is no need to line up to watch a movie or concert when we can buy reserved seatings on our phone or just watch the show online. Convenience is the hallmark of this generation and will continue to drive innovation as we go deeper into the 21st century.
In this regard, IoT could prove to be of great help in helping prevent and fight forest fires. As more and more gadgets are designed to make use of online connectivity, so too will the future of forest fire prevention and suppression. Temperature and humidity sensors could be put to good use in vulnerable regions of our forest and mountains. Battery powered and connected online, it could transmit real-time data about the current temperature and humidity in the region. Such data could be invaluable in helping de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation.
A temperature sensor could be used to monitor the temperature in the area that’s most prone to starting fires. A smoke detector could alert authorities of an ongoing fire before it could develop into a large blaze. Humidity places an important role in starting a forest fire. An area of low humidity could be the target of focus and attention from officials to ensure no fire develop. Likewise, a heat intensity monitor could alert firefighters of exceptionally hot spots where a fire could start or already starting. Any areas experiencing high temperatures, low humidity, and the presence of smoke could help narrow down the specific location to focus all the resources to help prevent the start of a fire or stop it from spreading.
An early warning system that is connected to the internet could not only alert the authorities but those living in close proximity to the area. An evacuation alert will not necessarily come from one source but based on real-time data. This way, people have more time to prepare and gather their belongings even before any signs of fire are visible through their windows.
With the help of the IoT, this entire system could be connected and broadcast on a dedicated web page. Real-time data could be shown here as well as remote cameras around the location to view current condition. Each location with sensors and cameras could be indexed into one page with headings that say click for info to help direct visitors directly to certain points of interest. Those living nearby could quickly see what is happening currently and firefighters could quickly round up help and resources and better plan their fire-fighting actions.
The internet has been both a blessing and a curse to most people. Many claims that it is helping connect people more easily, and that through the internet, knowledge, and information is a lot more accessible. There are others who want to go back to a few decades ago when interactions were deeper and hold more value. They claim that the rise of IoT only serves to distance people from one another.
Regardless of how people view the internet, it is still quite obvious that its application to the real world is far-reaching and significant. A lot of the comforts that we enjoy today have had its roots, in one way or another, connected to the rise of the internet of things. Many people might be opposed to society’s dependence on the internet but it has also helped to preserve the lives of many people and help improve the lives of many more.
The internet is just like any tool that humans have invented. In the right hands it could lead to unimaginable opportunities while in the wrong hands, it could be used for destruction and evil deeds. Some use it for benign purpose yet still aware of its capacity to do harm. In the case of forest fires, using the internet doesn’t only make sense but have proven to be practical. Humans have created a robust global telecommunication network and the majority of the people use it for chatting, sharing memes, or posting selfies. Why not also utilize it for something good? Use it to help secure our homes, or help prevent crimes. We can use the internet to alert authorities of potential problems before it becomes too big to handle. In this case, the internet could help prevent the development of forest fires or even stop its spread and cause further destruction to lives and properties.