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Vigía Forestal Look Out for Wildfires in Colombia

Colombia is the third-largest country in South America with the largest forest area. It has 59.7 million hectares of forests, of which 39.4 million hectares are in the Amazon area. This is one of the regions with the greatest water supply. However, severe deforestation is caused by forest fires and illegal logging. To combat the deforestation challenge, the Vigía Forestal program, created by the Colombia Federation of Municipalities and Collocation Technologies, operates an early detection and warning system for wildfires and illegal logging. Collocation Technologies is partnering with RoboticsCats to provide LookOut Wildfire Detection Service in the Vigía Forestal program to mitigate forest fire risks and damages in Colombia.

Video: Vigía Forestal program (source: Colombian Federation of Municipalities)

The geography of Colombia is varied, with mountains, plains, and rainforests. The Andes Mountains run through the western part of the country, and the Amazon rainforest covers the eastern part. Colombia also has a Caribbean coast and a Pacific coast. The forests in Colombia are home to a variety of plant and animal species, including many that are endangered or threatened. The country is home to over 1,900 bird species, more than any other country in the world. Additionally, the Choco forest in Colombia is one of the most biodiverse forests globally.


Fig 1: The Andean condor is the national bird of Colombia. (source: Wikipedia)

Wildfires pose a significant challenge in Colombia. In 2022, over 200,000 hectares of land were burned in wildfires, marking the most significant incidence in over a decade. The causes of these wildfires are varied, with the most common being drought, lightning strikes, and human activity.

The objectives of the Vigía Forestal program are

  • Combat climate change and its effects to the territory
  • Preserve the hydrological cycle of the forests
  • Reduce greenhouse gases emission
  • Strengthen the technical, operational and financial capacities of the municipalities to control deforestation and reduce illegal logging
  • Contribute to the fulfilment of the sustainable development goals for Colombia 2030

Collocation Technologies is a professional engineering firm providing construction and maintenance services for telecommunications, energy, and infrastructure projects in Colombia and many South American countries. Collocation Technologies is developing and deploying a comprehensive monitoring system consisting of cameras, audio sensors, gas detectors, and other devices in the Vigía Forestal program. They are partnering with global leaders to implement the best technologies in Colombia to protect biodiversity.

Collocation Technologies is collaborating with RoboticsCats to offer LookOut Wildfire Detection SaaS to mitigate the wildfire problem in Colombia. LookOut is an AI-powered wildfire detection system that uses surveillance camera imagery and machine learning algorithms to detect wildfires in their early stages. It empowers firefighters to respond to wildfires more quickly and effectively before they can cause significant damage.

Fig 2: A new LookOut wildfire detection camera system in Mosquera near Bogotá deployed by Vigia Forestal program
Fig 3: A new LookOut wildfire detection camera system in Mosquera near Bogota deployed by Vigía Forestal program
Fig 4: The LookOut wildfire detection camera system in Mosquera detected a forest fire on the next day after installation

Colombia is a beautiful country with much to offer. However, it faces challenges like wildfires and deforestation. Through the joint efforts of Vigía Forestal program, progress is being made to address Colombia’s wildfire problem and make a positive impact.

The Vigía Forestal program team will demonstrate its early detection and warning system for wildfires and illegal logging in the International Congress of Research and Environmental Innovation CNIIA 2023 (Congreso Internacional de Investigación e Innovación Ambiental) between 23rd and 25th August 2023. ¡Nos vemos Bogotá!

For any questions about the Vigía Forestal program in Colombia, please contact monitoreoforestal2022@outlook.com.

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