Atmospheric analysis will find fires quickly

Scientists at the TSU Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics and the Institute of Atmospheric Optics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have found characteristics of the atmosphere that will help to detect remote - over-the-horizon - field fires at an early stage. These parameters can be recorded using infrastructure that is already available at monitoring posts - cell towers, ground stations for meteorological observation, and others. TSU used these data to develop a system for early fire detection, which will minimize the forces and the aviation-based forest protection needed to search for new fires and fight them.

Fires affect the atmosphere through intense heat release during combustion, which affects the temperature, air humidity, wind speed, and turbulence parameters, and also through the release of combustion products. Gas analysis is a rather complicated process requiring expensive equipment. Therefore, scientists were faced with the task of identifying signs that clearly indicate a fire, and at the same time can be detected using available instruments.

In the course of semi-natural experiments, scientists discovered characteristic signs of a natural fire that can be recorded at a considerable distance. They are connected with the turbulence of the free atmosphere directly next to the flame and with gaseous combustion products and aerosols.

- Volatile components occur inside turbulent vortices that are formed inside the flame. These turbulent structures rise due to the force of Archimedes, expand, and then disintegrate. The process is accompanied by the release of energy, which leads to the turbulence of the free atmosphere in the vicinity of the flame. And as it turned out, as a result of measurements, this turbulence is registered at a considerable distance from the combustion center, - says Yegor Loboda, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, head of the Department of Physical and Computational Mechanics of the TSU Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics.

Using the data, scientists have developed a system for early fire detection, which is now at the stage of patenting. The system is based on a comprehensive analysis of atmospheric characteristics (gas and aerosol composition, meteorological parameters, turbulence, and others) and uses the existing engineering infrastructure. This approach avoids a number of disadvantages that satellite monitoring and other existing fire detection systems have. The integration of the proposed fire detection system with satellite monitoring methods will significantly improve the accuracy of fire detection with the elimination of false signals.

- Our development helps to find remote fires, which ultimately will lead to minimizing the costs of searching for new fires and fighting them. It also helps to use the results of monitoring a distributed network of sensors at the post of an emergency duty officer on duty, in situational centers, and integrate them into complex geographic information systems, for example, in the Geoportal of TSU, says Yegor Loboda.

Scientists add that the system can be used throughout Russia for early fire detection, rapid response, and extinguishment at a stage before the fire has increased to an extreme scale.