Satellite map helps prevent fires in Southeast Asia
Global Forest Watch in association with Conservation International has developed a Fire Risk Map to help better manage risks and be prepared for potential fire outbreaks. The Washington-based non-profit organisation’s map will help countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.
The map uses data from Earth-observing satellites to calculate the risk of catching and spreading fire in forests to help countries in Southeast Asia ward off damaging blazes.
Southeast Asia has massive problems with fires that usually spread from agriculture. Farmers use slash-and-burn practices to clear forest to make space for palm oil plantations. Last year, the situation was so severe that smoke from the blazes caused disruption to air travel and forced schools to close.
While the Fire Risk Map won’t prevent the slash-and-burn agriculture, it can provide authorities with information about temperature, humidity and rainfall – the major risk factors for the fires to get out of control. The drier the conditions, the higher the risk.