Dryad’s Silvanet Detects Unauthorised Wildfire in Lebanon in 30 Minutes, Prompting Timely Response and Resolution 

Dryad, a leader in ultra-early wildfire detection, today announced that its Silvanet system successfully identified and raised the alarm about an unauthorised fire at a customer site in Lebanon.

On the morning of Monday 11th December, Mada (XOL Broadband), a leading telecommunications operator in the Middle East and Africa, reported that Silvanet, Dryad’s ultra-early wildfire detection system, detected a small illegal fire swiftly, allowing for prompt response measures. The incident underscores the effectiveness of Silvanet’s technology in real-world scenarios and its role in enhancing environmental safety.

Background

Lebanon, characterised by its dry and hot climate, faces a substantial risk from rapidly spreading wildfires. It loses 1,500 hectares of forested areas to fires every year, posing threats to communities, natural habitats, and critical infrastructure. In June this year, a massive wildfire burned in the mountainous Sinn region of Akkar, consuming 90 hectares of forest, devastating centuries-old trees, and causing damage to several homes.

With 139,000 hectares of forest, equivalent to roughly 13% of its land area, Lebanon’s forests are increasingly at risk. Extended periods of drought pose a threat, elevating the risk of fires in higher-altitude regions that historically experienced fewer wildfires. Additionally, pest outbreaks are contributing to the desiccation of trees before the onset of the fire season. Lebanon’s renowned cedars, along with junipers and firs, are among the endangered forest ecosystems.

Against this backdrop, Mada decided to capitalise on its telecommunications expertise and corporate social responsibility commitments by deploying Dryad’s Silvanet at a pilot site at Deir Mar Moussa in central Lebanon. This collaboration aims to leverage cutting-edge technology to proactively protect nature and address the growing risk of wildfires.

Dryad employs artificial intelligence-enabled gas sensors within a large-scale, solar-powered mesh network embedded in forested areas. The technology focuses on early detection, providing a crucial advantage in preventing wildfires.

In the pilot deployment, Silvanet has been deployed since January 2023 with 91 sensors and 2 gateways, covering an extensive 78-hectare area in the forest adjacent to Deir Mar Moussa.

Incident

Silvanet demonstrated its effectiveness by successfully detecting and alerting to an unauthorised fire at 10:33am on Monday 11th December. The incident involved a farmer burning dry grapevines. This illegal activity posed a severe threat, as the fire could potentially spread to nearby forested areas.

Silvanet’s success lies in its comprehensive approach. The system detected a change in air composition through the Bosch BME688 gas sensor. Subsequent gas scans identified hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Silvanet’s AI then analysed the patterns, predicting a 70% probability of smoke at 10:33 am, triggering an alert through the Silvanet mesh network to the customer.

Silvanet’s AI model is the result of extensive research performed over the past three years. The system’s machine learning models are finely tuned and can be adapted to the specific environment of a deployment site, minimising unnecessary alerts and enhancing the reliability and sensitivity of wildfire detection. To reduce network load and enable large-scale deployments, the fine-tuned AI models are executed in the sensors, distributed over-the-air throughout the network without requiring physical maintenance.

Outlook

Looking ahead, Mada plans to extend the pilot to a full-scale deployment, safeguarding Mount Lebanon, a region of immense ecological relevance, extending along the entire country parallel to the Mediterranean coast. This expansion underscores the significance of proactive measures in protecting communities and natural landscapes.

Dryad’s Silvanet, in collaboration with Mada, demonstrated its efficacy by swiftly detecting and alerting the customer about a small fire. This proactive response prevented the escalation of an illegal fire under challenging conditions, showcasing the reliability of Silvanet in real-world scenarios.

Dr Nassif Bechara, General Manager of Mada, said: “Our partnership with Dryad reflects our commitment to leveraging advanced technology for the greater good. Silvanet’s success in detecting and preventing wildfires reaffirms the importance of such collaborations in safeguarding our environment.”

Carsten Brinkschulte, CEO and co-founder of Dryad Networks, says: “We are dedicated to refining our technology to address evolving challenges. The recent incident in Lebanon highlights the crucial role of early detection in protecting vulnerable regions from the devastating impact of wildfires.”