Bosque Primavera, on the border of Guadalajara, is Mexico’s largest big-city forest park. But the protected reserve’s natural beauty belies the difficulty state agencies have in protecting it. Mexico is amongst the top 20 countries globally in terms of economic losses from fire damage, and Bosque Primavera is no exception. A 2012 fire in the park destroyed over 7,500 hectares, or a quarter of the reserve.
But fire is not the only challenge facing park authorities. Drug traffickers have set up illegal labs within the reserve, taking advantage of its protected status. The cartels are also involved in illegal logging in the area. Firefighters have been driven off by armed gangs and Environmental Department employees killed while patrolling the reserve.
As such, in March 2015 Insight Robotics was invited to conduct a demonstration of its InsightFD1 wildfire detection robot for four forestry agencies, including SEMADET, the Secretary for the Environment and Terrestrial Development for the state of Jalisco. The Insight Robotics Wildfire Detection System could not only reduce the risk of fire but its automated nature could also protect the lives of park personnel.
For the demonstration, an InsightFD1 was mounted on a tower at a lookout station in Bosque Primavera, configured to cover a 180 degree area of semi-mountainous terrain. Over two days, eight test fires were started by the park service in locations unknown to Insight Robotics, while the system’s performance was recorded and published in an official report issued by SEMADET.
The report details the park authorities’ satisfaction that every one of the eight fires were detected with an average detection time of under 11 minutes. The report also made special note of the system’s ability to function 24/7, its ability to scan for fire in a five kilometre radius and in 360 degrees and that it could pinpoint the location of a detected and fire report it to the control room.
The success of the Mexico demonstration continues the Insight Robotics Wildfire Detection System’s track record of 100% effectiveness in identifying wildfires in its 70+ operating robots, both in field trials and during permanent deployments for clients.
Specifically designed for cost-efficiency, durability and reliability, the system can protect an area for as little as $2 dollars per hectare per year, protecting assets worth tens or hundreds of thousands of times that value from destruction and likewise reducing the cost of fire suppression. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that every dollar invested in wildfire mitigation will save more than five dollars in prevented future losses.