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Investing in technology, Suzano is ready to fight forest fires during drought

Sophisticated equipment such as 21 fire observation towers, own fleet of vehicles and trained brigadiers assist in fighting fires

With new technology investments, Suzano, global reference in the manufacture of bioproducts developed from eucalyptus cultivation is ready to prevent and fight fires in its forest massif during the dry season when the risk of fire outbreaks tends to increase. Now the company has video monitoring of 96% of its entire forest area and has made constant investments in cutting-edge equipment and constant training of its brigade members.

“The prevention and fight against forest fires are uninterrupted in our forest massif, as well as our search to improve these actions. With constant investments in new technologies, we maintain 24-hour monitoring and teams ready to act in any situation and at any time. With the arrival of the drought period, these precautions are doubled due to the typical combination of that time of year, winds and low humidity. Our objective is to preserve both our forest massif and the region’s biodiversity and guarantee the safety and health of the community in general”, reinforces Jansen Barrozo Fernandes, Suzano´s executive manager of forestry operations.

In the last few years, the company has invested in the installation of 21 fire spot observation towers and two frequency repeaters in the existing forest modules in Três Lagoas, Brasilândia, Água Clara, Ribas do Rio Pardo and Selvíria. Powered by solar energy, the towers are equipped with digital cameras with 360 ° rotation, providing control, 24 hours a day, of 96% of the company’s over 450 thousand hectares of forest areas in the State. The range of the towers, which measure between 54 meters and 72 meters in height, reaches a radius of 15 kilometers each, which brought a reduction of 31% in the average response time to fires when compared to the period before the towers.

“The observation towers send the images online to a central. During the day, the cameras automatically alert when they detect smoke and, at night, when they capture light, which makes the whole operation more efficient, from the activation of the brigade to the monitoring and completion of activities, thus preventing further damage to the massif and fauna, since there are a large number of wild animals in our areas. In addition, if the fire is on a neighbor, the person in charge is notified immediately”, adds the manager.

Brigade

Suzano has also invested in the training and education of its brigade members. At the end of 2019, the company trained 117 new brigadiers. As a result, the Fire Brigade now has 429 highly trained professionals to work in fire-fighting and other emergencies, which corresponds to a 37.5% increase in the number of brigade members.

The teams have a fleet of three high capacity firefighting trucks (15 thousand liters), nine 4×4 trucks with a capacity of 600 liters, two multitasking trucks (4 thousand liters) in exclusive dedication, all equipped with modern firefighting equipment and individual protection items, such as thermoplastic helmet, anti-scratch and anti-fog goggles, aramid mesh hood, vandal-lined gloves, lined combat jumpsuit and flame-retardant boots. In addition, 57 water trucks used in the forestry operation are able to intervene in possible occurrences.

Fires

A survey released by Reflore / MS (Sul-Mato-Grossense Association of Planted Forest Producers and Consumers) points out that, in 2019 alone, 11,653 fires were recorded in Mato Grosso do Sul. The number is equivalent to an increase of 389% in compared to 2018, when the State registered 2,380 fires and is the highest in the last 14 years. The survey is based on data from Ibama (Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources). In the East Coast region, there were 327 fire outbreaks in 2019.

Among the main causes of fire outbreaks are natural phenomena, incidents or accidents and, mainly, cultural problems (habits and behaviors). It is estimated that humans cause most fires. For this year, Reflore / MS, of which Suzano is associated, launched the eighth Fire Prevention and Fighting Campaign with the theme “Fogo Mata”.

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