IoT and AI working together to protect the Waitākiri Bottle Lake Forest Park

Christchurch City Council deploys IoT technology to aid in early fire detection and helps prevent devastating fires that can impact environments and communities. 

Customer problem

Bottle Lake Forest is a commercial forest and recreational park. A fire in this location will threaten the plant and wildlife, as well as human life, as this area is frequented by thousands of visitors per year.


Five integrated sensors that will deliver proactive disaster mitigation, public safety, critical infrastructure protection and community resilience via a single intelligent integrated network.


Early detection and intelligence will help emergency response resources mobilise as quickly as possible. It will also provide time for communities to implement their emergency plans.

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Technology helps with early fire detection

More than 800 hectares of commercial pine trees, regenerative native ferns, orchids, grasses and shrubs in Christchurch’s Waitākiri/Bottle Lake Forest Park are now protected by New Zealand’s first environmental sensing and early fire detection network. This is all thanks to the installation of new IoT (Internet of Things) technology and AI (Artificial Intelligence). 

In a trial undertaken by Christchurch City Council and Spark New Zealand, with technology partner Attentis, the park now has a network of five self-powered sensors that will deliver environmental monitoring, live micro-climate weather updates, air quality information and visual and thermal imaging that will assist in early fire detection.

Thousands of people visit Waitākiri Bottle Lake Forest Park each year to get out in nature to enjoy the bike and walking tracks. The technology will help protect the forest, neighbouring properties, the environment and wildlife.

The 360 degree cameras and IoT sensors are continuously monitoring conditions, providing valuable real-time data on statistics such as air quality and ground temperature.

The data is transmitted to Fire and Emergency New Zealand who will then be able to take action. 

The public will also be able to check out information such as pollen count, temperatures, rainfall and other environmental data online. This could be helpful for asthmatics or allergy sufferers.   

The Port Hills fire burnt through 1,600 hectares of land, claimed nine homes, damaged five others, and took a long 66 days before being fully extinguished. At its peak, 150 people were on the ground battling the blaze alongside 14 helicopters, and three fixed wing aircrafts.

Early detection and intelligence will help emergency response resources mobilise as quickly as possible. It will also provide time for communities to implement their emergency plans to help prevent or mitigate an event like that from reoccurring again.

“An important part of this project has been the excellent collaboration between Christchurch City Council, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Rayonier Matariki Forests and Spark IoT” Michael Healy, Manager Smart Christchurch

Interested to hear more? Join Michael and Cameron for a highly topical, interactive webinar and find out how you can apply Christchurch City Councils learnings to your environment. Watch the webinar

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