RDP project database
Installation of a Camera-Based Automated Forest Fire Early Detection System
The German Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Regional Development undertook the installation of a camera-based monitoring system for forest fires (AWFS) in response to the high risk of forest fires in the Lower Saxony woodlands.
Owing to its local and climatic conditions, the well-wooded lowland in the eastern part of Lower Saxony (400,000 hectares, 70% coniferous forest) is an Index A area and one of the most vulnerable regions for forest fires in Germany (forest fire risk areas are divided into three risk classes by the EU and an Index A areas indicates a high forest fire risk). As 70% of forest fires in Lower Saxony occur in the high risk areas, prevention and monitoring are crucial. Overall forest fire early detection systems are therefore essential to spot isolated fires.
The main objective is to quickly detect forest fires in order to minimize fire damages and to improve the collaboration between the responsible bodies involved in forest fire prevention and protection.
Before implementing the project, a feasibility study evaluated other federal states’ fire detection systems. Overall, during 2009 and 2010, 17 special-purpose cameras were installed in six administrative districts of the Index A area. The project sponsored the installation of a server-based AWFS control room with 6 workstations and a manager’s workplace in an administrative office in Lüneburg. After a test run, the system was launched in 2011.
Results & Benefits
The project greatly improved the early detection of forest fires. The main advantages of the camera-based monitoring system were: i) permanent operational readiness; ii) quick detection of smoke and accuracy of signal detection; iii) visual control; and iv) image storage. The system is run by a tele-maintenance/remote service from Berlin. It is cost-efficient, especially in comparison with the previous forest fires monitoring systems used.
The feasibility study and preliminary studies concerning the location were an added-value. The collaboration and the support of risk management office regarding the use of radio link were beneficial as it accelerated the installation process. Nevertheless, renting the detection units remained a challenge as, in most cases, cell towers were chosen, and a structural analysis and alteration had to be undertaken.
Project location and other information
Administrative districts of Lüchow-Dannenberg, Lüneburg, Uelzen, Celle, Soltau-Fallingbostel and Gifhorn
Lower Saxony and Bremen
Total project cost (€)
2 200 000
EAFRD contribution (€)
1 600 000
National contribution (€)
Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Regional Development Department (Referat) 406
+49 (0)511 1200
Languages for contact
At a glance
Final beneficiary type
Forester, Public/local authorities, Non-governmental organisations
> €500 000
Theme / Measure:
Environment and Sustainable Resource Management
Sustainable use of forestry land
226. Restoring forestry potential and introducing prevention actions
Forest fire, Forest management, Risk management, Natural disasters, Wood