Satellite To Cell Phone Fire Alarms

Using a combination of MODIS and METEOSAT South African power company Eskom is able to pinpoint fires threatening their power lines.

““What is particularly nice about this is all of our field staff have mobile phones,” says Vosloo. They can be out in the field, away from their computers and still get the fire alert. “The system is set up so that a particular field personnel would only get the information that they would need for their lines. If they get a notification, they can phone the local land owner and inquire about the extent of the fire,” explains Vosloo. “Then the person will say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m just burning some old maize,’ or sometimes they might say ‘This is a fire, and it’s running away, and we can’t control it.’”

If a fire is large and out-of-control near power lines, the field person notifies the national control center, who also receives the alerts, to confirm that the fire is a threat to the power lines. If backup lines are available, the control center can then divert power away from the affected lines until the fire is controlled…”

Here is another example of satellite based fire monitoring linked to email alerts. Diane Davies of the University of Maryland developed an email alert system emailing fire locations from the university’s MODIS-based Web Fire Mapper to individuals in remote areas.

“Davies has expanded the system into a global fire alert system that automatically emails subscribers whenever there is a fire near their area of interest. By January 2007, the global system, called the Fire Information for Resource Management System, or FIRMS, had been operating for just a few months and already had 580 subscriptions. “We now have users in 60 countries,” says Davies.”