Using robots to detect forest fires

By Stephen Corby | 01 December 2017


Rex Sham and his WALL-E-inspired robots are improving fire detection to slash carbon emissions and make the world better.

If he were in a movie, Rex Sham would be the bad guy, or at the very least the well-meaning scientist who unwittingly wipes out the human race. In reality, Sham, the co-founder and chief science officer of Insight Robotics, is using his ingenious, WALL-E-like fire-detecting robots to save the planet.


Global Wildland Fire Early Warning

Global Early Warning System for Wildland Fire

Mapping Products

Global Fire EWS 10-day forecasts

Global FWI Monthly Forecasts

Outline of Fire Danger Products in the Global Fire EWS

The fire danger indicators currently presented on the Global Fire Early Warning System (Global Fire EWS) are components of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) System. The Global EWS provides 1-10 day forecasted FWI System data based on the Canadian Meterolological Centre’s (CMC) Global Deterministic Forecast System (GDPS). The FWI System components are currently calibrated to commonly used threshold values that identify low to extreme conditions. As such, the Global EWS provides a means of comparing relative fire danger conditions between countries, continents, and biomes; and the 1-10 day forecast identifies the expected future fire danger trend. This type of information is often useful for large-scale fire management decision-making such as planning cross-border suppression resource exchanges.

Although these indicators can be used to compare fire danger across the globe, the indicators are not calibrated to the local fire regime, which includes the influences of fuel, ignition sources, climate, fire management/suppression policy, etc. For that reason, the next stage in development of this system is regional calibration to adjust the fire danger scales using historical fire data (primarily remotely sensed) and weather data. This will calibrate the fire danger indicators to provide operational-level information such as potential for fire starts and difficulty of control. Regional calibration will be an on-going collaborative effort with regional and national agencies.

The FWI System has 6 components that represent fuel dryness and potential fire behaviour at the landscape level. All components are presented in the Global EWS:

  • Fire Weather Index (FWI) is a general indicator of fire danger and fire intensity
  • Buildup Index (BUI) indicates dryness of medium and large dead fuels
  • Initial Spread Index (ISI) is an indicator of rate of fire spread
  • Drought Code (DC) indicates dryness of deep, compact organic layers in the forest floor
  • Duff Moisture Code (DMC) indicates dryness of loosely compacted, upper organic layers of the forest floor; often used as a predictor of lightning-caused fires
  • Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC) is an indicator of the dryness of dead fine fuels; often used as a predictor of human- and lightning-caused fires

More details on the FWI System can be found on the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System website , and the Canadian Meterolological Centre’s (CMC) Global Deterministic Forecast System (GDPS) at . As the Global EWS develops in future, other fire danger indicators and weather forecast models will be included for multiple comparisons. As well, various remote sensing data will be incorporated to provide additional fire danger products.

International Workshop on National Guidelines on the Protection of Forests Against Fire

Bogor, Indonesia, 8-9 December 1997
(IFFN No. 18 – January 1998, p. 49-51)

Johann G. Goldammer, Editor IFFN

As a consequence of the fires and smoke pollution in Indonesia between 1982 and 1994 a cooperation agreement was made to develop a project “Integrated Forest fire Management in Indonesia Phase I: National Guidelines on the Protection of Forests against Fires”. The cooperation agreement between the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), the Directorate General of Forest protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry, and the Faculty of Forestry, Bogor University of Agricultural Sciences, was signed on 21 October 1996.


Field Visit to Bintuni

By: Erianto Indra Saputra | 16 November 2017


As part of the Y-1 activities of UMCES/IPB-NASA Tropical Peat Fire Project, the team visited Bintuni Regency, West Papua to explore the opportunity to conduct peat fire research there. The co-director of the project, Prof. Dr. Bambang Hero Saharjo (Faculty of Forestry IPB) lead the team, accompanied by Dr. Erianto Indra Putra (Faculty of Forestry IPB), Dr. Grahame Applegate (Univ. of Sunshine Coast, Australia), and Andri Thomas (BOSF, Central Kalimantan). The team left Jakarta to Manokwari on 11 November 2017 and arrived safely on the early morning of 12 November 2017. After having the opening meeting with the Vice Dean of the University of Papua, the team continued the trip to Bintuni Regency on 13 November 2017 by using small plane operated by Susi Air (Fig. 1). Three faculty staff from Faculty of Forestry, University of Papua, joined the team to Bintuni. They are Benny Rettob (Dean), Wolfram Mofu (Head of the Department) and Alfredo Wanma (senior lecturer).

Fig. 1. A small plane that taking the team from Manokwari to Bintuni. Operated by Susi Air, total passengers of the flight are approximately 12 persons.

The team had a meeting with the Regent of Bintuni Regency and his staff on 13 November 2017 before leaving to the field to explore the existence of the peat in Bintuni. The regent was happy and welcomed the coming of the team to Bintuni Regency and gave an order to the Head of Yakora District to help the team conducting the research (Fig. 2)

The team finally found the peat fire on their second day, 14 November 2017. The peat fire was found under sago plantation in Yakora District. It was still burned with some smoke released from the peat due to the peat fire (Fig. 4). To reach the area, the team should face more than five hours’ drive using the 4-wheel drive car, passing more than 20 km muddy roads and 4 small rivers that having no bridge on it, and finally using the small boat (Fig,3). What a journey!!, but the team were satisfied with the result as they found the potential area for implementing the project in Yakora District.

 Fig, 2. With the Regent of Bintuni Regency and his staff before leaving to the field

Fig. 3. The team in a boat to the peat area near the river as the final destination of the trip

The team flew to Manokwari from Bintuni Airport on the morning of 15 November 2017. In Manokwari, Bambang, Grahame, and Indra gave the general lecture on peat fire in Faculty of Forestry, the University of Papua, attended by undergraduate and graduate student of Faculty of Forestry. Some staff and researchers have also attended the class (Fig. 5). After the class, the team had a meeting with the Rector of the University of Papua (Fig. 6).  The Rector appreciate and welcome all of the initiatives to conduct the research in West Papua, in collaboration with the University of Papua. Bambang, Indra, Grahame, and Thomas headed back to Jakarta on the morning of 16 November 2018.

Fig. 4. Big sago tree in the peat area near the river in Yakora District (left) and peat fire under the sago tree (right)

Fig. 5. Group picture after the general lecture in Faculty of Forestry, University of Papua

Fig. 6. The team taking a picture with the Rector of University of Papua


Forest Fire Control Continues into The Rainy Season

01 October 2017


JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM – Director of Forest and Land Fire Control, Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) Raffles B Panjaitan said the rainfall forecasts in several regions in Indonesia did not reduce the efforts to prevent and suppress forest and land fires (karhutla) by the KLHK Karhutla Control Brigade, Manggala Agni.


Five named suspects in Jambi land, forest fires

9 September  2017


JAMBI, The Jambi Police have named five people as suspects during their investigation into seven land and forest fire cases, which occurred from January to August.

Jambi Police spokesperson Comr. Wirmanto Dinata said three out of the seven cases were handled by the Tebo Police while two cases were investigated by the Batanghari Police. The East Tanjungjabung Police and the Muarojambi Police handled one case each.


Jambi land, forest fires continue

6 September 2017


JAMBI, While the number of hot spots in some areas across Sumatra is declining with the onset of the rainy season, land and forest fires in Jambi continue to break out.

The Jambi administration’s Land and Forest Fire Task Force data shows that fires in the province cover 488 hectares in seven regencies. They comprise Batanghari, Bungo, East Tanjungjabung, Muarojambi, Sarolangun, Tebo and West Tanjungjabung.


The National inter-agency round table forest and fire management and Launching Regional Fire Management Resource Center – South East Asia Region (RFMRC-SEA)

Jakarta, Manggala Wanabhakti, Room Sonokeling, 10 July 2017

Keynote Speech

Minister of Environment and Forestry represented by Dr. Ir. Bambang Hendroyono, MM (Secretary general of the Environment and Forestry Ministry)

The Inauguration RFMRC-SEA

The inauguration RFMRC-SEA by Secretary general of the Environment and Forestry Ministry

The National inter-agency round table forest and fire management and Launching Regional Fire Management Resource Center – South East Asia Region (RFMRC-SEA) executed on the date 10 July 2017, the activities is carried out by Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) and Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) through the financial support of the Ministry of Food and Agricultural Federal Republic of Germany. As a follow up the cooperation program that began 1 March 2017 to 28 February 2019 to do the inauguration the establishment of RFMRC-SEA.

The objective of the RFMRC-SEA will be to function as an independent regional center of competency and excellence for fire management, operating at the interface between science and informed policy development (Science-Policy Interface – SPI). The RFMRC-SEA has been established by the Faculty of Forestry Sciences, Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia), with the assistance of the GFMC. These two institutions have been working together in fire science and fire management since the mid-1990s at bilateral level as well as within international projects. The Center shall successively build the following capacities:

  1. Development of an internet-based information portal, which will include the science of vegetation fires and related scientific disciplines;
  2. Development of a web-based documentation and information portal on the practices that are prerequisite for the application of scientific principles in informed fire management;
  3. Creation of an interface and promotion of the dialogue between services of specialized governmental institutions and civil society organizations;
  4. Provision of advisory service for sustainable forestry & land management and relevant policies;
  5. Promotion of regional cooperation through networks, notably within the UNISDR Regional Southeast Asia Wildland Fire Network under the Global Wildland Fire Network; and
  6. Training and continuing vocational training in fire management (main task: Information, training, training and education and the promotion of human resources and institutional capacities).

The National inter-agency round table forest and fire management and Launching Regional Fire Management Resource Center – South East Asia Region (RFMRC-SEA)
inaugurated by the Minister of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) represented by Dr. IrBambang Hendroyono, MM (Secretary General Ministry of Environment and Forestry). He stated that Indonesia also proposed the establishment of Asean Coordinating Center for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control hosted in Jakarta.  While ACC in progress, in the same time the Faculty of Forestry Sciences, IPB has an innitiative to establish The RFMRC-SEA.  The next step is how two center will collaborative in action as a partner.  Giving mutual benefit.  Sharing information.  Mutual trust.  In advanced, all support the government policy. May provide benefits for the nation and country in particular to reduce forest and land fires. Congratulations to work, and officially this meeting I declared opened. Hereafter hopefully this meeting becomes the forerunner of the establishment Regional Fire Management Research Center-South East Asia (the RFMRC-SEA).

The other information can be obtained from link:

Malaysia is willing to assist Indonesia to battle forest fire

Sin Chew Daily/ ANN | 01 August 2017


Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Malaysia is ready to send fire fighters and officers to help Indonesia put out forest fire.

After launching the smart tunnel run 2017 today, he told media that the government is viewing forest fire in Indonesia seriously as it may spark off haze and the government is ready to offer assistance.


Dozens of Indonesians hospitalised due to smoke from forest fire



Jakarta (VNA) – Dozens of people have been taken to hospitals for respiratory problems due to thick smoke caused by forest fires in Aceh province of Indonesia.

Some schools in Meulaboh city suspended classes on July 26 after fires destroyed 70 hectares of forests in the province last week.