Skip to main content
Bosch Energy and Building Solutions Global
Protecting our forests

A smart solution for early detection of forest fires

Forest fires are breaking out with increasing frequency all over the world. Year after year, they devastate millions of hectares of valuable ecosystems and inflict billions of euros’ worth of damage. An innovative technological solution from Bosch is now helping to protect people, animals, and plants.

View over a forest in the fog

Arson, slash-and-burn farming, climate change: each year around six million hectares of forest burn on our planet – double the figure 20 years ago. And the consequences are devastating. In addition to posing an increasing threat to human lives and destroying the habitats of countless plant and animal species, forest fires also inflict severe economic damage. Munich Re, a reinsurer, has calculated that forest fires incurred costs of 69 billion U.S. dollars between 2018 and 2022. They also release record quantities of CO2. The flames are thus exacerbating one of the underlying causes, the planet’s warming, in a kind of feedback loop.

So what can be done? In Germany, Bosch Energy and Building Solutions is leveraging the know-how it has acquired while integrating building solutions and systems to help mitigate this pressing problem. One major project of this kind is being carried out around the town of Fürstenwalde in the east of the German state of Brandenburg.

Christoph Vieregge, Bosch Energy and Building Solutions

This integrated solution is breaking new ground for detecting and fighting forest fires.

Christoph Vieregge, Bosch Energy and Building Solutions

Bosch is helping to protect rich forest resources in Brandenburg

Fürstenwalde, a town with its own cathedral in the Oder-Spree district, is popularly known as the “Green City on the Spree River” because of the 4,500 hectares of rich forests surrounding it. They are managed by a municipal department. Each year around 18,000 cubic meters of sawn and industrial wood are produced there, supplemented by valuable firewood and seed. Protection of species and nature conservation play a major role, supporting the forest’s many uses and functions. A “forest experience trail” and music events like “Rock for the Forest” add to its attraction. And to ensure that everything stays the way it is, hundreds of highly sensitive sensors are now being attached to trees. If they detect even a trace of smoke from an incipient fire, an alert instantly appears on a screen used by municipal forest director Thomas Weber and his team, who continuously monitor the overall system. If there’s an alarm, the local fire department is instantly alerted via a server. “We’re delighted with the system,” says Weber.

Certainty in the first 60 minutes

Christoph Vieregge at Bosch Energy and Building Solutions is responsible for developing this service. “This integrated solution is breaking new ground for detecting and fighting forest fires,” he says. It combines innovative sensors on the ground with advanced video technology and artificial intelligence. A cloud-based portal bundles all of the data for the fire department – and then makes it available in a user-friendly format to help the operator guide firefighters to where they are needed. The innovative solution helps detect any forest fires within 60 minutes after they start – regardless of the weather. This gives firefighters a head start for taking fast, effective action to contain and extinguish it.

Forester inspects a tree

Innovative sensors, advanced video cameras, AI, and a management portal

Silvanet sensor on a tree

The solution also integrates the “Silvanet” system from Dryad: a network of highly sensitive sensors that very quickly detect carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and other gases that are released during the early stages of a forest fire. The sensors communicate with one another via long-range wide-area networks (LoRaWANs) and mobile radio (LET), with satellite gateways serving as a backup. The sensors’ miniaturized design and autonomous power supplies let them be inconspicuously spread around the forest. Drones with video capabilities are additionally deployed to verify fire risks and support the work of firefighters in real time.

The captured data ultimately winds up in a BOS portal at the command center. There everything is compiled and monitored in compliance with the relevant rules of the responsible authorities and organizations. A map showing the locations of the sensors and cameras is displayed. Access to alarm images and live streaming of the cameras are possible, and data from weather stations can also be integrated, including wind directions and velocities, supplemented by contact information to support preparations for firefighting missions. Another advantage of the browser-based application is that it can also be transmitted to mobile devices to help forest workers respond swiftly.


Time is of the essence when a forest fires breaks out. The earlier a fire is detected, the more effectively it can be combatted. This intelligent technological solution from Bosch Energy and Building Solutions helps spot fires and initiate appropriate action extremely quickly. This is an important contribution to protecting nature and preserving forests, which are important habitats and living spaces for people, animals, and plants.