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will be more appropriate to find optimal solutions by assessing the areas at high fire risk rather than aiming at achieving 100% visibility from the towers in forests that are located on mountainous and rugged terrains such as Turkey. Furthermore, it can be suggested that a good self-check can be performed by using the methodology applied in this study when it is necessary to check the effectiveness of the existing towers and fixed lookout stations.
The primary objective of forest fire fighting is to respond to fire before it occurs or grows to the extent that cannot be controlled. Early detection of fires can ensure success for early and moderate intervention. In this study, viewshed analysis was performed for 28 lookout towers inside the boundaries of Isparta Regional Directorate of Forestry and 9 towers outside its boundaries. The findings demonstrated that these towers could view 59% of the forest area inside the study area. While 19% of the remaining forest area was outside the detection range of the towers, 22% was not visible due to the rugged terrain and detection limits of the towers. In this lookout system, 41% of the forest area was visible from only one tower, while 19% was visible from multiple towers. The towers built without GIS-based viewshed analysis were understood to be able to control around 40% of the forest area in this mountainous and fire-sensitive region. It was also found that they could not control more than 100 thousand hectares of fire-sensitive forest area. This is a weakness in fighting fire as regards early alert. Although it is not possible to reach the data that can calculate the opportunity cost of fire lookout towers from statistical point of view, it can be suggested that they decrease the damage caused by fires. Moreover, GIS-based methodology developed and used in this study can be useful to install fixed cameras or chameleon vision cameras that are capable of detecting fires because it is an important decision support system that allows for multidimensional assessment. There is a need for further studies on GIS-based methodologies that include the use of fixed camera systems and remote sensing technologies in addition to the conventional lookout towers with a view to planning the economically, technically and operationally optimal lookout system. We recommend a multidimensional structure of human and digital technology interaction to establish the optimal fire observation systems in the future.
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