Innovative Wildfire Early Warning System Pilot Project Launched in JablanicaPublished: Nov 1, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
People In Need (PIN) and the Jablanica municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to initiate a ground-breaking pilot project aimed at enhancing wildfire prevention and early response in the region. This collaboration marks a significant step towards climate adaptation and risk reduction in an area increasingly affected by the impacts of climate change.
The pilot project will see the implementation of the advanced early warning system, which operates using a network of high-tech sensors capable of detecting potential sources of fire at an early stage. This system, combined with a drone and an additional high-resolution camera, forms a unique system designed to prevent the spread of wildfires, safeguarding lives, property, and natural resources.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has witnessed a growing number of wildfires, especially in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, with incidents rising from four in 2013 to twelve in 2023. Challenges in combating these wildfires include inadequate and outdated equipment, insufficient personnel, difficult access to vulnerable areas, delayed fire detection, and lack of water supply. Wildfires significantly contribute to global carbon emissions, accounting for up to 20% of the annual total.
PIN’s global Director of the Relief and Development Department, Jan Mrkvička, highlighted the urgency of the project, stating, “Climate change is not a distant threat; it is here, and it is impacting our communities now. This innovative early warning system is a critical investment in our collective safety and the protection of our environment. We are committed to scaling this solution to create resilient communities capable of facing the challenges posed by a changing climate.”
The early warning system operates using an intricate network of smoke detectors, connected to a cloud system, providing advanced warnings and enabling rapid response to potential wildfires. The system’s sensors can detect smoke within minutes, allowing for immediate action to prevent the spread of fires.
The initiative also includes a comprehensive public awareness campaign, utilizing the RapidPro software to send tailored messages via SMS and popular messaging apps, educating the community on wildfire risks and preventive measures as well as alerting them in the event of fire risks.
The pilot project in Jablanica serves as a potential model for wildfire prevention and climate change adaptation, not only for the local community but for the entire region. Upon successful implementation, this innovative early warning system could be scaled up and replicated, significantly contributing to the national and regional risk reduction Strategies.
About People In Need (PIN)
People in Need arrived in the Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s to deliver humanitarian aid and emergency supplies to those affected by the conflict and has remained in the region since to support the development of social and economic life. With a focus on long-term sustainability and resilience, PIN actively engages in climate change adaptation initiatives to protect vulnerable communities and preserve natural resources.