Throughout the globe this yr, from Greece and Portugal to Canada and Hawaii, wildfires have been burning uncontrolled. And because the world heats up, blazes like these are solely predicted to worsen and extra frequent.


Confronted with this imminent menace to lives and infrastructure, authorities are doubling down on tried and examined firefighting strategies. However they’re additionally investing in new, high-tech approaches, pioneered by an rising phase of ‘firetech’ startups.   

Telecoms specialist Dryad Networks, primarily based out of Berlin, is considered one of them. By tapping AI and Web of Issues (IoT) applied sciences, Dryad hopes to deliver down wildfire detection time from a number of hours to just some minutes, giving firefighters time to reply extra successfully.

“At present, we nonetheless largely depend on human sightings to detect fires. However by the time somebody can see a wildfire burning by the cover it’s already very onerous to extinguish,” Dryad’s CEO Carsten Brinkschulte tells TNW. “The message we’re getting again and again is that in terms of battling wildfires — timing is every thing.”

Web of Timber


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Dryad has developed a collection of applied sciences put in all through the forest that detect wildfires earlier than they unfold — an ‘Web of Timber’ if you’ll. In contrast to standard instruments, like satellites, cameras, and watchtowers, Dryad’s community doesn’t must see a fireplace to realize it’s there. 

Photo voltaic-powered sensors, positioned about one per hectare all through the forest’s understory, detect wildfires of their early smouldering section by ‘smelling’ tell-tale gases like hydrogen and carbon monoxide in microscopic portions. Additionally they monitor temperature, humidity, and air strain. 

an image of a dryad wildfire sensor hanging on a tree