26.05.2008 - The fire surveillance cameras of RMK discovered the Vihterpalu fire at 12.22 05.10

From the inspection of the fire monitoring system of the State Forest Management Centre (RMK), it appears that the cameras took the first picture of the Vihterpalu forest fire at 12.22. The fire specialist who observed the camera immediately called a forester of RMK, who drove to the spot to check the circumstances. The Rescue Board had received the first alarm from the starting place of the fire on the shores of Lake Tänavjärve at 12.16.

“The forester of RMK arrived at the area shot by the camera within minutes and provided additional information to the alarm centre on how to reach the area of the fire,” said Tiit Timberg, Member of the Management Board of RMK. ”We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Rescue Board for such professional work, as well as to the citizens who notified us of the fire, and to all volunteers who participated in the extinguishing works”. About a dozen employees of RMK have also been helping out with the extinguishing of the fires, working in shifts as long as the fire-fighting operation lasts.

The fires are mainly located on the landscape protection area of the Lääne County Suursoo Mire Complex. As it is mainly a bog area, significant economic damage has not been caused. The habitats of several endangered bird species nesting in the area, however, are most likely damaged.

RMK is not currently planning to install a similar fire monitoring system elsewhere. ”Vihterpalu is great fire-risk zone, which is why we are convinced that the electronic fire monitoring system justifies itself there,” Tiit Timberg added.

The monitoring system consists of 5 monitoring spots with surveillance cameras installed on the top of the mobile phone masts of EMT, Elisa and Elion. The working radius of the camera, which rotates 360º, is up to 20 km and the accuracy of identifying the fire area is within 10-20 metres. The electronic fire monitoring system of RMK covers 1750 km² of the forests in Harju and Lääne Counties.

In August 2007, RMK installed an electronic fire monitoring system on the border of Harju and Lääne Counties, the software of which compares changes in digital pictures and allows for the identification of fires in their initial stages. The construction of the electronic fire monitoring system was supported by the foundation Environmental Investment Centre with MEEK 4.66; RMK’s share was MEEK 3.34.

RMK, the manager of the state forest, is a profit-making state agency established under the Forestry Act, aimed at sustainable and efficient management of the state forest: forest renewal, growing and use, and organisation of forest protection. RMK organises game upkeep in the state forest, and ensures forest use related to every man’s right. RMK manages about 40% of the Estonian forests.

Additional information:
Tiit Timberg
Member of the Management Board of RMK
Tel: +372 676 7061, +372 504 5761
E-mail tiit.timbergrmk.ee