Portugal opts for spectroscopy to save forests

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To protect the Peneda-Geres National Park, an area of more than 700km2 in Portugal, the Portuguese government needed a quick and accurate detection method for forest fires.

The Park’s authorities chose remote optical sensors that can distinguish the organic smoke of forest fires from other sources at a distance of up to 15km. These sensors were co-located with weather stations that monitor the temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction and rainfall. Referred to as the Forest Fire Finder (FFF) system, there are 13 FFF stations across the Park.

The FFF system will provide additional information to the Park’s control centres, such as the direction of the fire or exact location, if two systems detect the event. Photos of the detected fire and meteorological data are also sent to a central server. This server can send out alerts when needed.

The FFF incorporates an Avantes AvaSpec-ULS2048 spectrometer. Using optical spectroscopy this instrument can recognise the difference between factory related smoke emissions and forest fires. As well as Portugal other areas around the world that could need such technology include, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and other international markets.