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CIEMSA protects Cabo Polonio National Park from Wildland Fire

In January 2022, our partner CIEMSA deployed new LookOut wildfire detection systems in Uruguay.

We teamed up with CIEMSA to deploy the first LookOut wildfire detection system in Uruguay last June. LookOut worked off-the-shelf in Uruguay. LookOut detected many prescribed fires in Piriapolis. The detection performance was outstanding. CIEMSA and the local firefighting organization decided to deploy more LookOut in the country in early 2022. LookOut wildfire detection software-as-a-service is the new weapon to combat wildfires in the coming fire season between January and March.

Figure 1: CIEMSA deployed new LookOut system in southeast coast of Uruguay. Source: wikipedia

CIEMSA deployed multiple AXIS Q8685-LE cameras with LookOut service along the southeast coast of Uruguay, between the cities La Paloma, La Esmeralda, and Punta del Diablo.

Figure 2: A newly installed AXIS Q8685-LE

The new LookOut deployments detected both wildfires and controlled burns since they have been turned on. Two incidents are good examples of how early wildfire detections can help firefighters better control forest fires.

On 11th January 2022, the CIEMSA and firefighter teams received wildfires from the newly installed LookOut cameras at La Esmeralda and La Paloma. The teams found the wildfire alerts were pointed to the same place – Cabo Polonio National Park. The location was about 28.6km from La Esmeralda and 46.0km from La Paloma. The distances were further away than our standard detection range of 15.0km.

Figure 3: A wildland fire at Cabo Polonio was detected by the cameras at La Esmeralda and La Paloma on 11th January 2022.

The Cabo Polonio National Park is an extensive area with a beautiful landscape that still retains characteristics typical of the Uruguayan Atlantic coast. Cabo Polonio is a tiny village, small houses scattered on a block of stone isolated in the Atlantic and kilometers of dunes. No roads are leading to Cabo Polonio and it is located about 7km from the main highway.

Figure 4: Cabo Polonio is a tiny village, small houses scattered on a block of stone. Source: turismorocha.gub.uy

The La Esmeralda camera was zoomed in to the wildfire to provide firefighters with live video before they arrived at the wildfire location. The situational information assisted the firefighters to allocate resources.  Later the day CIEMSA shared with us that the LookOut wildlife detection alerts were 30 minutes earlier than reports from other sources.

We were glad that the new deployed LookOut wildfire detection service did its job to protect communities and the environment from wildfire in its first duty week. Just on time.

The second incident was on 1st February 2022. LookOut detected a wildfire from the La Paloma camera. The CIEMSA and firefighter team took control of the camera and zoom in to the hotspot. The live video showed it was a controlled burn and there was no immediate danger. The controlled burn was extinguished within an hour. No firefighting resource was required.

Figure 5: controlled burn was detected by the camera at La Paloma on 1st February 2022.

Both incidents demonstrated the benefits of our LookOut early wildfire detection service: it helps firefighters to get the awareness of wildfire at its early stage, take actions monitor the progress, and make good use of firefighting resources to protect the environment.

“Existing Commercial/Government off-the-shelf (COTS/GOTS) satellite imagery generally cannot provide the necessary high-resolution data to deliver precise locations for WUI fire ignitions. Ground-based detection systems generally are able to more quickly detect ignitions but are more expensive.” stated on page 24, Wildland Urban Interface Fire Operation Requirements and Capability Analysis – Report of Findings, Department of Homeland Security.

January 2022 is more well prepared to fight wildfire than May 2019.

LookOut wildfire detection service is US$49/month per fixed camera or preset position. Try it now.

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