Application of UAS in Forest Firefighting for Detecting Ignitions and 3D Fuel Volume Estimation

The article presents results from the AF3 project “Advanced Forest Fire Fighting” focused on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)-based 3D surveillance and 3D area mapping using high-resolution photogrammetric methods from multispectral imaging, also taking advantage of the 3D scanning techniques from the SCAN4RECO project. We also present a proprietary embedded sensor system used for the detection of fire ignitions in the forest using near-infrared based scanner with weight and form factors allowing it to be easily deployed on standard commercial micro-UAVs, such as DJI Inspire or Mavic. Results from real-life pilot trials in Greece, Spain, and Israel demonstrated added-value in the use of UAS for precise and reliable detection of forest fires, as well as high-resolution 3D aerial modeling for accurate quantification of human resources and equipment required for firefighting.

An Immersive Serious Game for Firefighting and Evacuation Training in Healthcare Facilities

In healthcare facilities, training the staff for firefighting and evacuation in real buildings is very challenging due to the presence of a vulnerable population in such an environment. In a standard environment, traditional approaches, such as fire drills, are often used to train the occupants and provide them with information about fire safety procedures. However, those traditional approaches may be inappropriate for a vulnerable population and can be inefficient from an educational viewpoint as it is impossible to expose the occupants to scenarios similar to a real emergency. Immersive serious games could be used as an alternative to traditional approaches to overcome their limitations. Serious games are already being used in different safety domains such as fires, earthquakes and terror attacks for several building types (e.g., office buildings, train stations, tunnels, etc.). In this study, we developed an immersive serious game to improve the fire safety skills of staff in healthcare facilities. An accurate representation of the healthcare environment was built in Unity3D by including visual and audio stimuli inspired from those employed in commercial action games. The serious game is organised in three levels. In each of them, the trainee is presented with a specific fire emergency and s/he can perform protective actions (e.g., firefighting, helping non-ambulant occupants, etc.) or s/he can ignore the opportunity for action and continue the evacuation. In this paper, we describe all the steps required to develop such a prototype, as well as the key questions that need to be answered, to develop a serious game for firefighting and evacuation in healthcare facilities.

Modelling Forest Fire Risk in the Goaso Forest Area of Ghana: Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems Approach

Forest fire, which is, an uncontrolled fire occurring in nature has become a major concern for the Forestry Commission of Ghana (FCG). The forest fires in Ghana usually result in massive destruction and take a long time for the firefighting crews to gain control over the situation. In order to assess the effect of forest fire at local scale, it is important to consider the role fire plays in vegetation composition, biodiversity, soil erosion, and the hydrological cycle. The occurrence, frequency and behaviour of forest fires vary over time and space, primarily as a result of the complicated influences of changes in land use, vegetation composition, fire suppression efforts, and other indigenous factors. One of the forest zones in Ghana with a high level of vegetation stress is the Goaso forest area. The area has experienced changes in its traditional land use such as hunting, charcoal production, inefficient logging practices and rural abandonment patterns. These factors which were identified as major causes of forest fire, have recently modified the incidence of fire in the Goaso area. In spite of the incidence of forest fires in the Goaso forest area, most of the forest services do not provide a cartographic representation of the burned areas. This has resulted in significant amount of information being required by the firefighting unit of the FCG to understand fire risk factors and its spatial effects. This study uses Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System techniques to develop a fire risk hazard model using the Goaso Forest Area (GFA) as a case study. From the results of the study, natural forest, agricultural lands and plantation cover types were identified as the major fuel contributing loads. However, water bodies, roads and settlements were identified as minor fuel contributing loads. Based on the major and minor fuel contributing loads, a forest fire risk hazard model with a reasonable accuracy has been developed for the GFA to assist decision making.