REN and the University of Coimbra are conducting tests for the installation of optical and thermal cameras in the Serras do Porto Park, which covers the municipalities of Gondomar, Paredes, and Valongo, to monitor and anticipate the impact of rural fires on forests, thus protecting them. The installation of these devices is part of Replant, a project of national interest, which brings together 20 entities, 70 researchers, and specialised technicians, and that will bring new technologies to develop the Portuguese forest and make it safer.
The placement of this equipment will later be extended to two other pilot areas in the municipalities of Góis (Alvares, Cadafaz, and Colmeal) and Nisa (São Matias), and will be subject to an evaluation of the efficiency of the display of the monitoring systems before their definitive installation.
These video surveillance systems placed on REN's poles will provide real-time images, with information on the weather and vegetation, by placing sensors, which communicate with the information systems that will be created for this purpose. Scientific research will provide these technological tools with the dynamics to detect potential fire outbreaks, but mainly for fire behaviour simulation and fire monitoring, contributing to the resilience and integrity of the electricity infrastructure. In the territory, these innovative tools will have an impact on the improvement of prevention systems, firefighting, and reduction of risk for the teams involved, as well as on the management of other infrastructures in the territories, such as energy, road, rail, and industrial infrastructures, among others.
A number of surveillance systems are planned to be installed in the northern and central regions of Portugal. These will enable better-integrated management of rural fires over a planned area that could cover around 226,000 ha of the country's forest cover.
RePLANT is an unprecedented technological project that brings together companies and universities to enhance and protect the forest. This mobilising project led by Navigator Forest Portugal, with technical and scientific coordination by CoLAB ForestWISE, launched in July 2020, involves 20 organisations, and will introduce new technologies to develop the Portuguese forest and make it safer, with an investment of around 6 million euros, involving over 70 researchers and expert technicians. RePLANT is structured into three main areas of action - the first, dedicated to forest and fire management (led by Sonae Arauco and by Instituto Superior de Agronomia of the University of Lisbon); the second, dedicated to risk management (coordinated by REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais and by the University of Coimbra); and a third pillar, concerning circular economy and value chains (under the management of The Navigator Company and ForestWISE).