Belarus: An Automated Remote Infrared and Television System for Forest Fire and Ecological Monitoring (IFFN No. 23 – December 2000)

An Automated Remote Infraredand Television System
for Forest Fire and Ecological Monitoring

(will be published in IFFN No. 23 – December 2000, p. 92-96)


The development of automated systems for monitoring large forest areas and other terrain to detect fires in the early stage and to predict fire spread and fire emissions is a challenge for technological innovations. These monitoring systems must be part of a network for real-time transmission and receiving of data on local, region and national levels.

An automated infrared and television (IR-TV) system has been developed in Belarus for continuous and weather-independent detection of fire in large forest tracts. The system allows the detection of fire in an early stage, thus contributing to prevent large fire disasters and minimise economic losses.

The system allows monitoring of other environment parameters using additional sensors. At present Infrared-Television (IR-TV) systems are set up in the 30km zone around Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident site, and one in a forest enterprise of Minsk Region. The IR-TV system located in Chernobyl Zone is supplemented with radiation sensors to control the level of background radiation and monitor changes during a forest fire.

System Structure

The system includes a network of IR-TV detection modules placed on watch towers and the Central Point for Information Processing (CPP) (Fig.1). The system consists of three main parts:

  • IR-TV automatic detection module (Fig.2).
  • Radio network for transmission of digital information
  • Central Point of Information Processing

All devices operate automatically. The product of information processing at the CPP is an electronic map (Fig.3). The CPP takes a decision or issues fire alarm.

Description of the system

IR-TV Automatic Detection Module

The system may include up to 128 IR-TV automatic detection modules. The modules scan the terrain, search and identify fire locations by detecting radiation; obtain digital TV images; measure meteorological parameters and radiation.

The IR-TV detection module includes (Fig.2):

  • IR-telescopic system (detection of high-temperature events)
  • Scanning device
  • TV camera with an optical system (black-and-white)
  • Microprocessor-based unit of control and processing data (Advantech)
  • Power supply module (variable electricity supply, including solar panels)
  • Radio network (Motorola)

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Fig. 1. System structure of the Automated Remote Infrared and Television System  for Forest Fire and Ecological Monitoring

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Fig.2. IR-TV detection module


Central Point for Information Processing (CPP)

The Central Point for Information Processing (CPP) receives data from the IR-TV modules and releases alarm after a fire has been identified. The CPP includes an IBM-compatible personal computer (with the Pentium processor and Windows), a radio station (Motorola GM-350), modem, antenna, power supply, and alarm system. The CPP performs the following:

  • operation of the radio-network
  • control and diagnostics of each of IR-TV-modules
  • creation of an electronic map of the region monitored
  • creation of images
  • decision support
  • other service functions

Technical specifications are given in Table 1. The CPP is located i. a. w. the requirements for a radio network location. The IR-TV detectors are mounted on watch towers that are strategically located.

System Functioning

Spectral separation and time-amplitude signal analysis is double checked by three rotations of the IR-TV-detector. The signal of the detected fire and its azimuth is registered in the memory of IR-TV-module and stored until information interchange with the CPP. Periodical inquiries at 5- to 10-minute intervals of the IR-TV-modules are realized from CPP. The bearings from the watch towers to the detected fires are indicated as red arrows on the electronic map, and the fire location is determined by the intersecting bearings (Fig.3). Upon request by the CPP the IR-TV-module transmits TV-pictures on the given azimuth. In addition maps of heat fields can be generated that show temperature profiles in colour images. These products are displayed on the CCP monitor. The IR-TV capabilities of the system are as follows:


  • detection of flames
  • detection of heat ascending over a fire
  • confirmation of signal identified by the IR-channel
  • comparison of heat field maps received in different time periods


  • fire detection by depicting fire smoke
  • visual analysis from the interested direction
  • Figure 3 shows a the example of an electronic map on which the location of the detected fire is indicated.

Structural Features

All electronic and automated IR-TV system units are built in block technology and can be easily replaced if repair is necessary. Structural and functional characteristics of the automated systems for forest fire monitoring allows a connection to the National Forest Management System of Belarus that is currently being developed, and to other services.

Tab.1. Main technical specifications of the Automated Remote Infrared and Television System for Forest Fire and Ecological Monitoring

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Fig.3. Example of an electronic map on which the location of thedetected fire.

Contact address:

Valery Shamal
Head, Laboratory of Scince and Research Institute
of Applied Physical Problems
Belarussian State University
7, Kurchatov Str. 220064 Minsk

Tel: ++375-17-278 04 16
Fax: ++375-17-278 04 16


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