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ŠUMARSKI LIST 7-8/2020 str. 63     <-- 63 -->        PDF

Visibility analysis of fire lookout towers protecting the Mediterranean forest ecosystems in Turkey
Analiza vidljivosti vatrogasnih tornjeva namijenjenih zaštiti mediteranskih šumskih ekosustava od požara u Turskoj
Hüseyin Ogfuz ÇOBAN, Halis BEREKET
Urgent detection of fire and precise identification of its location are of critical importance for success of first response to fight forest fire. Forest fire lookout towers are main observation system and used in a sophisticated way to detect forest fires in Turkey. The objective of this study was to conduct visibility analysis of fire lookout towers deployed in mountainous Mediterranean forest region of Turkey, thereby assess their effectiveness. It is necessary to determine functionality and capacity of these towers to protect forest environment. Visible and invisible areas from towers were identified by using Geographic Information System and high resolution digital elevation data. In visibility analysis, scanning was performed with a rotation of 360 degrees at the 18 kilometres radius from the point where a lookout tower was located. Roads in this region are one of the elements that can be used in fire observation. People traveling on these roads may report forest fires by using cell phones. In this sense, the efficiency/effectiveness of the towers have been associated with forest road traffic. Therefore, visibility analysis of roads was also performed to check the observation capabilities from roads. Although there are 37 fire lookout towers in this area, where coniferous tree species such as brutian pine and black pine that are highly vulnerable to fire are dominantly distributed, 40% of forests are in parts that are not visible and 15% of them are at high risk of fire. More than 100 thousand hectares of fire-sensitive forest area in this region could not be controlled by the towers. The network of towers could view 56% of the overall area and 59% of the forest areas. People using the roads contributed to the lookout system by 11% and ensured that 70% of the forest area in this region was visible when combined with the towers. On the other hand, 59% of 523 thousand hectares of forest land that were not visible from the roads were visible from the towers. It was emphasized that the participatory behavior of people who lived in forests and used inner forest roads were an important part of the fire observation system. We recommend that the GIS-based methodologies including digital camera systems and remote sensing technologies in addition to the conventional lookout towers with a view to planning the economically, technically and operationally optimal fire lookout system.
Key words:: viewshed analysis, fire risk, fire sensitivity, forest fire, forest road, Isparta
As a natural phenomenon of Mediterranean forest ecosystem (Pausas and Vallejo, 1999; Keeley et al., 2012), forest fires can help their regeneration (Wuertner, 2006; Neyişçi, 2009). The survival of those ecosystems depends on their resilience and adaptability (Daniau et al., 2010; Keeley, 2012; San-Miguel-Ayanz et al., 2013). Moreover, economic and