Drones to help detect fires in Belarusian forests

Forestry enterprises should more actively use modern technologies for detecting forest fires early on. Belarusian Forestry Minister Vitaly Drozhzha expressed the opinion at a recent session of the ministry's board, BelTA has learned.

Vitaly Drozhzha pointed out a substantial number of forest fires and the areas that went up in flames this year. The forestry minister believes that the acquisition of modern unmanned aerial vehicles will help detect forest fires earlier.

“Once a new fire season begins, our people spend virtually days and nights fighting forest fires. Apart from manpower we use up considerable financial resources to fight forest fires. Belarusian companies make good flying drones with a rather large observation radius. I think we will be able to reduce fire areas if we use drones,” Vitaly Drozhzha noted.

The minister noted that one good drone can be used by three to four forestry enterprises at once. It is necessary to focus attention on the forestry enterprises that are most susceptible to transboundary fires.

“Every year we see fires virtually in the same forestry enterprises. The situation is most complicated in southern parts of the country where transboundary fires are not that rare. It is necessary to more seriously approach this matter,” the minister stressed.

In his words, every year the Forestry Ministry system does a lot of work to prepare for the fire season. Considerable resources are allocated to buy the necessary vehicles, equipment, and gear, set up fire lookout towers, buy photo and video equipment.

Head of the Forestry Management Office Sergei Chernyavsky said during the meeting that at present Belarusian forestry enterprises have 257 fire stations of their own as well as 663 fire equipment storage and distribution facilities. As many as 538 fire trucks are available as well as over 1,000 tillage implements for making firebreaks, 349 tractors fit to fight forest fires, 1,849 motor pumps, 786 water tanks, over 336km of fire hoses, some 12,700 backpack sprayers, 929 power saws, and other tools.

Apart from that, the ministry has set up a network of 656 fire lookout towers, with 594 ones equipped with video surveillance solutions to monitor the state of forests.



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