Fire remains a major threat to forests as clearing the land using fire in shifting cultivation practice and general illegal expansion of forest land for agricultural production still occurs occasionally in the GMS region. Previously due to a lack of capacity, technology and resources forest fire fighting and prevention strategies were not in place in the region. Since 2014 APFNet has funded three projects in Cambodia, China, and Lao PDR to monitor and manage forest fires through setting up reliable high-tech forest fire and smoke detection video monitoring systems. This system is called the “Forest Watcher”, created by the company China Forestry Star.
the showroom of the forest watcher in the headquarter of the company
To further improve the capacity of the technical officers and fire managers on how to operate this system effectively, APFNet sponsored China Forestry Star to organize a training workshop from 24 to 29 August, 2018 in Jilin, China for 11 trainees from the abovementioned three economies. The two-day indoor training included visiting the headquarters of the company, learning how forest fire management is done in China and specifically, how to operate the system and its wide application range in mainland China. The last two days were dedicated to a field trip to visit a pilot project of the forest watcher in Changbai Mountain.
The training offers good opportunity to understand the functions, characteristics and technical performance of the operating system. Through the training, participants gained knowledge and hands-on experience on how to use its embedded functions, such as the forest fire video monitoring system, geographic information system for forest fire prevention, command and dispatching system, emergency plan system, firefighting resource management system, and especially daily monitoring operation and smoke detection alarm responses.
The forest watcher in the project site on Changbai Mountain
The “Forest Watcher” is a cutting edge technology that can be left unattended, monitoring throughout the day in real time, which each tower covering a radius of 15k㎡. Once every 30 minutes the system can automatically record information at a point in this circle and zoom to any targeted area with a high accuracy of about 100 meters. Gaining a proper understanding on this technology is quite beneficial says Mr. Seab Kimsrim, one of the trainees who works as a manager of Khun Ream research station in Cambodia. He felt that the training did provide him with another opportunity to learn more on how to operate the system and expanded his understanding based on what he learned during the previous on-site training in Cambodia. “I am familiar with the system now, in particular on fire spot plotting to get the specific fire location, plotting fire ground area and troop distribution, fire information and treatment method” he said.
The participants successfully completed the training with awarded certificates