India — In a bid to cut response time to forest fires, the Forest Survey of India (FSI) using satellite information from the University of Maryland has begun sending out instant SMSes to forest staff and civilians when a forest fire is detected via the satellite.
This year, there have been above 3,000 forest fires, with many days witnessing more than 500 forest fires. And while there have been several fires in the hot forests of Central India, (Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh), newer areas of wildfires have also emerged.
Earlier, FSI would send faxes to the Principal Conservator of Forests of states where fires were detected. It was a lengthy process. Under the new system that started 10 days ago, we sent out SMSes as soon as we detected a fire, giving the latitude and longitude co-ordinates of the spot, says R D Jakati, Director General, FSI.