Technology and the Environment: A year of fire surveillance

The Use of INWIT Digital Infrastructure for WWF forest oases

A highly positive result from the first year of collaboration between INWIT and WWF Italy, which has made it possible to ensure the prevention and early detection of forest fires in the WWF oases of Macchiagrande (RM), Bosco di Vanzago (MI) and Calanchi di Atri (TE) through the smart cameras and gateways installed on the towers of Italy’s first tower operator.

The pilot project, in its first year, has shown the potential of the technology, applied to environmental protection especially within particularly delicate and endangered ecosystems.

In this first year, despite a particularly hot summer, fortunately no fires occurred within the three oases. Only on one occasion did one of the video cameras installed at the Calanchi di Atri Oasis detect a plume of smoke at the edge of the oasis, caused by the burning of plant residues, olive branches in this case. This practice is one of the main causes of forest fires in Italy, as the fire gets out of control and spreads into the surrounding forest vegetation, causing enormous damage to the ecosystem: the surveillance system installed on the INWIT tower allowed a prompt intervention, which stopped any consequences.

“INWIT’s towers are allies of the territory and the environment. The “Tower as a service” logic is at the heart of our strategy: a digital and shared infrastructure, capable of both accelerating the deployment of operators’ 4G, 5G and FWA networks, and of becoming a technology centre where IoT components and communication systems capable of enabling innovative services, as in the case of fire monitoring in WWF Italy’s Oases. Thanks to its widespread distribution across the territory, our infrastructures represent a great opportunity and an important added value in the environmental sphere for the protection of ecosystems, territories and biodiversity” – said Michelangelo Suigo, Director of External Relations, Communication and Sustainability at INWIT.

The implementation of technology is a valid ally of the territories, especially in contexts that are particularly at risk, and this pilot project demonstrates this. “This initiative has confirmed how our Oases are an excellent opportunity to test innovative methodologies for environmental conservation that can then be disseminated on a wider scale,” said Marco Galaverni, WWF Italy Network and Oasis Director, “technology can be a valuable tool for the protection of habitats, biodiversity and human health, for example by helping to prevent threats such as forest fires.

Constant surveillance to ensure the preservation of forests, invaluable ecosystems, is crucial: when they are weakened by fire, they defend even less effectively against other extreme weather events such as floods, compromising the resilience of the entire territory.