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Early detection of forest fires for the model region Harz 

Future Forest Initiative | Breeze Technologies | Plättner Elektronik

A network of forest fire sensors for the Harz region

Due to climatic changes, forest fires are increasingly becoming a danger for people and nature in Germany as well. In the Harz Mountains, the Future Forest Initiative is therefore currently establishing a pilot project together with Breeze Technologies, a leading supplier of air quality sensors, and Plättner Elektronik as part of our Future Forest Innovation Lab, in which modern gas sensors for the early detection of forest fires are being tested for the first time in Europe.

The Harz as a pilot area for the forest fire prevention of tomorrow

About the project, technological innovations and the future

The project

The Future Forest Initiative (FFI) launched an innovative project for the early detection of forest fires in 2022 in cooperation with Breeze Technologies and Plättner Elektronik. The system, based on air quality monitoring, was installed at various key locations in the Harz region.

Key locations
• In the Harz National Park in partnership with the national park of the same name
• In Blankenburg with the support of the town of Blankenburg
• Along the route of the Herzogliche Schmalspurbahn in cooperation with the railway line
Success story
Although 2022 was a less dry season in the Harz Mountains, no forest fires were registered in the monitored areas. Nevertheless, the system has already proven its effectiveness by responding twice to unusual activities: once because of a campfire and another time when smoke from a nearby charcoal kiln was blown by the wind into the monitored area. In particular, the system has already achieved its proof of concept through its already proven sensitivity, combined with a cost-efficient implementation.

Technology & Innovation

The world's first air quality-based forest fire detection system.

This "outdoor smoke detector" automatically detects fires within a few minutes and alerts the fire brigade digitally - be it by e-mail, SMS or directly. A special feature of the system is its dual function: it not only provides warnings of forest fires, but also real-time data on air quality, which is useful for population protection measures such as evacuations in the event of acute forest fires.

Developed and produced in Germany, the system was perfected in cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is already in use worldwide. Now also in the Harz Mountains.

Further development

Act local, think global!

The FFI Innovation Lab works closely with Plättner Electronics and Breeze Technologies to continuously improve the forest fire detection system. In conjunction with the Ministry of Economics of Saxony-Anhalt, the district of Harz, the Harz Fire Brigade and the existing partners in the region already mentioned, the pilot project will continue in 2024. The vision of the partners is to create a system that can be used worldwide to ensure the protection of forests and communities.


Support & Know-How


Nationalpark harz
Homeland securtiy
Logo Stadt Blankenburg-1


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