Forest fires can cause a lot of destruction. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the cost of fire suppression is expected to reach $1.8 million by 2025. The damage caused by a large fire can exceed $1 billion (Insurance Services Office). In 2016 the National Interagency Fire Center reported that forest fires in the US claimed the lives of 1114 people. Detecting the location of the fire, the direction, and the rate of movement could be helpful to put them out sooner.

For this prototype, a circuit detects a change in light (which models a fire but would be replaced with a thermal resistor) and changes the advertising of the Bluetooth module connected to an Arduino 101. The Arduinos are set up in a linear pattern with a central device at one end to detect if a Bluetooth module in range has changed advertising (in the case that a fire is detected).

Working on the advertising and learning about Bluetooth in a short amount of time was a challenge.

What's next: Changing the energy source for the Arduino to a solar panel and battery, and seeing if wifi modules or radio waves are alternatives to the Bluetooth. We also have a prototype in a linear arrangement but need to test 2D (with the modules in a grid pattern). Detection over long range could be helpful in other applications as well, such as fire detection within buildings, and oil leaks or other chemical spills in the ocean.

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