AI to Fight Forest Fires in Kazakhstan
Climate change has led to the proliferation of forest fires around the world. As temperatures have soared, whole stretches of Indonesia have been engulfed, Australia’s outback has repeatedly gone up in flames, while Californian now has a wildfire season with over 7,000 incidents last year.
Kazakhstan is no exception to the trend. In a nation that is the ninth largest in the world by area but only the 233rd by population density, the sparsity of its people poses a particular challenge in the detection of forest fires. If they are not detected and allowed to take hold, the fires can be difficult to extinguish and cause devastation to communities and wildlife. To combat this problem, Kazakhstan is turning to the use of AI to monitor for the first signs of a forest fire and take early action.
Beeline Kazakhstan, the country’s largest mobile operator, has deployed an AI monitoring system in collaboration with theDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Management of Akimat of the Kostanay Region. The monitoring system, called Orman-AI, takes advantage of the Beeline towers location and height to scan the horizon for the first signs of smoke using high-definition cameras. Data is sent to servers in real time over the high-speed fibre that is usually used for backhaul from the mobile network mastheads, and then processed through an AI analytics engine trained to recognise the appearance of smoke.
Remote areas of Kazakhstan can be automatically monitored through Orman-AI
In an era of rapid climate change, forest fires are an increasingly common problem and caused damage to 103 thousand hectares in 2022 alone in Kazakhstan, nearly 40% the land area of Luxembourg. If detected too late, they are hard to extinguish and pose a serious threat to rural communities. Detection of fires through augmented intelligence is a pragmatic approach, and this could be extended to agricultural and other community applications,” comments Evgeniy Nastradin, the CEO of Beeline Kazakhstan. “This initiative shows Beeline and VEON's commitment to the country, using cutting edge technology to create solutions to real problems, including safeguarding the population against natural disasters,” – he adds.
During the initial test period, 34 cameras with both optical and thermal imaging capabilities were deployed. These provided early alerts to firefighters for 50 fires in the region by providing specific coordinates for the outbreak. The Orman-AI system also provides tools for managing firefighting resources, 3D modelling of how the fire might spread in the prevailing conditions and a live information exchange system.
Operators are provided with resource management and modelling tools to help combat forest fires.
In the future, the Orman-AI system could also be deployed for other monitoring applications including assisting farmers to improve agricultural yields by using AI to determine when crops require watering or fertilizer, and to keep track of livestock.
This is yet another major AI-based solution from Beeline Kazakhstan. Last year, Beeline’s information technologies subsidiary QazCode launched BeeBert AI module, training AI in Kazakh language for customer experience applications.