Following the numerous forest fires in 2019, the Sarthe has equipped itself with a surveillance network for its numerous wooded areas. For the past year, the fire service has had cameras placed on pylons or water towers to alert them in the event of a fire starting.
On 25 July 2019, the firefighters of the SDIS 72 (Service Départemental d'Incendies et de Secours de la Sarthe) were mobilised on no less than 25 fires, "a hellish day for the SDIS 72".
Fifty trucks and 350 men and women were on the ground," recalls the head of the SDIS 72. We were at the end of our operational resources.
This is why the decision was taken to equip itself with monitoring means.
Since 2020, the SDIS 72 has had detection and warning equipment at 12 points in the department, near sensitive areas. In total, 48 cameras that monitor the forests from above the tree tops.
Commander Marc Rallu, who is responsible for this project, gives the example of the pylon located at Le Mans-sud. A 24-metre high surveillance point with a clear view of the Ruaudin, Mulsanne, Brette-les-Pins and Teloché forests....
On this pylon," he explains, "you have two detection cameras which are in fact cameras that take a photo every ten seconds and compare it to a reference photo. As soon as the photo is different, an alarm is sent to the supervision centre. You have a third camera, the highest one, the doubt removal camera with which you can zoom in. [It's a very powerful tool that allows us to size the vehicles we hire by really seeing the location and size of the fire.
The Sarthe department is a department that is particularly exposed to forest fires," explains Mr. Burbaud. Colonel Christophe Burbaud, Director of the SDIS 72.
In the Pays de la Loire region, we have the largest wooded area with 117,000 hectares of forest, one third of which is coniferous and two thirds deciduous. It is also the most wooded department in the northwestern quarter of France.
Forest fires are a reality with spring and summer fires. In recent years, we have become aware that there are more and more fires in natural areas.
It was urgent and necessary to put in place mechanisms that would allow us to improve our effectiveness on the ground.
A further four monitoring points will be connected in 2022 as fibre optics are brought to the areas concerned.
Thank you to the journalists Olivier QUENTIN and Quentin DUVAL for this report.
The ADELIE (Alert, Detection and Localisation of Fires) system is a forest fire monitoring system that detects the presence of smoke in the canopy using a unique image capture and processing principle.
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