From Space to Earth: Using Thermal Data for Wildfire Prevention and Management
Advancements in thermal infrared sensor technology have made thermal data more accessible and affordable for organizations around the globe. This powerful tool has a wide range of applications across different industries and fields. For example, in agriculture, it is used to monitor crop health and detect irrigation problems, while in the energy sector, it helps identify energy leaks and optimize solar energy systems. In the environmental sector, thermal imaging is a valuable resource for monitoring land use changes and detecting wildfires.
Of all these applications, detecting wildfires is one of the most pressing issues that demand urgent attention. Despite efforts to mitigate their risks, forest fires have increased steadily worldwide over the past decade. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), this trend will continue, with a potential 50% increase in forest fires by the end of the century. The looming threat of severe wildfires highlights the need for proactive and collaborative approaches to fire management.
Using Thermal Data to Prevent Wildfires
Prevention is the most effective way to fight wildfires, and early detection is key to achieving this goal. With timely access to thermal data from space, we gain the tools to identify potential wildfires before they spread, minimizing damage and saving lives.
At OroraTech, we are harnessing the power of space to gather valuable data and support efforts to combat the climate crisis. Our in-house built high-resolution thermal cameras are sent to space to monitor vast, remote areas of the Earth and detect thermal anomalies, providing valuable information for preventing wildfires and other environmental threats such as gas flares, urban heat, water irrigation, etc. By detecting wildfires early, we can help affected regions, municipalities, and private companies to take swift action to contain the fires before they spread, ultimately minimizing their impact and protecting both people and assets.
OroraTech aims to provide up-to-date thermal images of the Earth’s Surface every 30 minutes in the future to detect and combat wildfires at an early stage. Credit: Deutsche Bank
OroraTech leverages over 20+ satellite sources to track more than 161 million hectares (400 million acres) of forest for customers worldwide. Our Wildfire Solution features compact, highly advanced sensors and rapid data delivery, providing critical information to private forestry companies, NGOs in Africa, national parks in Australia, and companies in the timber industry in South America, among others. With a presence in 16 countries, we are committed to supporting wildland firefighters and communities impacted by wildfires, providing timely and accurate data to help prevent and mitigate natural disasters.
The Future of Satellite Data
The need for a global early warning system for wildfires is more pressing than ever before. However, the up-to-date data provided by existing satellites, such as those from the ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), is limited as it is only available twice a day, which is not enough to detect newly emerging hotspots. To bridge this gap, the OroraTech team develops its own sensors capable of providing up-to-date thermal data of the entire Earth every 30 minutes, starting from 2026.
Illegal man-made forest fires spotted in the Amazon rainforest during September 2022, via Wildfire Solution.
Our first satellite with a thermal-infrared camera was launched in January 2022 and has been orbiting the Earth for over 15 months, demonstrating the advanced technological capabilities of OroraTech’s infrared sensor to detect and monitor wildland fires even through smoke and at nighttime.
By combining the data we gather today and the potential of our thermal data, our technology can provide valuable insights into the effects of climate change and help stakeholders make efficient decisions. With our continued expansion into new markets and the development of even more advanced technology, OroraTech is committed to helping communities around the world prepare for and respond to the challenges posed by climate change.