A Night at the OPERA: A Conceptual Framework for an Integrated Distributed Sensor Network-Based System to Figure out Safety Protocols for Animals under Risk of Fire

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Apr 29;20(9):2538. doi: 10.3390/s20092538.


Large scale wildfire events that occurred around the world involved a massive loss of animal lives, with a consequent economic impact on agricultural holdings and damages to ecosystems. Preparing animals for a wildfire evacuation requires an extra level of planning, preparedness and coordination, which is missing in the current practice. This paper describes a conceptual framework of an ICT system implemented to support the activities of the Regional Veterinary referral Center for non-epidemic emergencies (CeRVEnE) in the Campania Region for the twofold objectives. On the one hand, it realizes the monitoring of the wooded areas under risk of fire in the so-called "Mount Vesuvius' red zone". On the other hand, it determines the OPtimal Evacuation Route for Animals (OPERA) in case of fire, for each of the reported animal species living in the mentioned red zone. The main innovation of the proposed system lies in its software architecture that aims at integrating a Distributed Sensor Network (DSN), an ad-hoc software to generate timely simulations for fire risk modeling, and a GIS (Geographic Information System) for both the activities of web mapping and OPERA definition. This paper shows some effective preliminary results of the system implementation. The importance of the system mainly lies in its accordance with the so-called "Foresight approach" perspective, that provides models and tools to guarantee the prevention of systematic failure in disaster risk management, and becomes moreover critical in the case of Mount Vesuvius, which hosts a unique combination of both animal and anthropic elements within a delicate natural ecosystem.

Keywords: Distributed Sensor Network; OPERA; animal safety; disaster risk management; fire risk; simulation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Communication Networks
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods
  • Ecosystem
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Wildfires / statistics & numerical data*