Wood processing facilities are especially susceptible to fire because lumber materials and the byproducts of processing (i.e. dust) are exothermic without exposure to an external stimulus. In storage areas, the internal temperature of the material can increase to the point where it will burn spontaneously. Fine dust covers machinery and mechanical bearings in planer rooms and other points in the process. Without proper maintenance, the bearings can combust or even explode. If not caught in time, an entire building or storage area and the product contained in it can be destroyed.
Although most warehouses, storage areas, and processing facilities are equipped with smoke or spark detectors and fire-fighting systems, these systems initiate only when a fire already exists. Thermal imaging helps to detect hot spots before a fire occurs so that the necessary measures can be taken.