The Forest Survey of India has joined hands with the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC) to deploy drones to assess forest fire and get quick updates. This step was taken due to the increasing forest fires. The latest one that broke out at Bandipur Tiger Reserve last year, taught the state to use technology optimally. The two will work together for the first time, on using drones and setting up a center in Mysuru or Chamarajanagar to monitor three crucial tiger reserves — Bandipur, Nagarhole, and BRT. The head office will be situated in Bengaluru. The Forest Department will receive the satellite images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), through the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The Forest Survey of India will then process the data and then share it with the beat and range forest officials. The time taken for this will be at least an hour and a half.
“Now the department is working on reducing this time and getting information directly from NASA and ISRO. So we have partnered with KSRSAC and they have created a dedicated team to work on analyzing satellite images and sharing data on forest fires on a real-time basis,” Subhash K Malkhede, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, told TNIE.
Many meetings and workshops have been held for the past three months between the department and the center. There are ongoing efforts on how the satellite data will be directly analyzed by the Forest Survey of India and KSRSAC officials. Furthermore, the drones will be helpful for various uses like monitoring guards, ensuring if forest fires have been controlled in remote locations, keeping track of wildlife, etc. The most important part will be that drones will also be useful in obtaining remote sensing data. This will in turn help to analyze dry and evergreen forests that are prone to forest fires.
“Drones will be used on a pilot basis this year and if successful, these could be deployed permanently for use in all forest patches,” added Malkhede.