INSA leads the European fires platform of SAFER (www.emergencyresponse.eu), coordinating the activities of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Greece. (www.insageoservices.com)
Forest fires can be a major ecological disturbance agent that modifies landscapes, especially when normal fire frequencies and /or intensities are modified. The main negative fire effects are vegetation biomass loss, soil degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and, in the worst cases, the loss of lives.
A comprehensive study of a fire event requires prevention, early warning, crisis monitoring and, after the fire occurs, the interpretation of causal factors, fire effects and ecosystem responses, in a wide range of spatial (local to regional) and temporal (short to long term) scales. Often, this assessment is incomplete due to economic reasons, the lack of data or the use of standard methodologies that are not efficient.
SAFER project proposed several fire services in order to support all phases of crisis management:
- Preparedness/Prevention: Global Fire Risk Service (GRF) provides fire danger forecast on the basis of meteorological weather forecasts. Information content includes the identification of the area that can be under risk classified into 5 classes (from very low to very high risk).
- Emergency Response: Fire monitoring (FMM-1) – They contain the continuous near-real time monitoring of active fires. This product includes fire location and several associated parameters: estimated fire power, fire temperature, size of burning area and background temperature. In addition, cloud cover is provided per each satellite image- and Rapid burned area mapping (FMM-2) – fire perimeters at medium resolution by the daily MODIS acquisition and processing can be provided, between 1 and 7 days after fire extinction.
- Recovery: Recovery products are intended for an in-depth analysis of fire event, e.g. damage assessment or a synthesis of the fire event. High resolution fire perimeter (BSM-1) can be provided at the end of the fire season, for fire inventory. Fire severity (BSM-2) product is the estimation of damage levels in the different vegetation strata.
Example of FMM-1 product provided through the dedicated GeoPortal by INSA (with the collaboration of LATUV, ©INSA)
A detailed and rapid knowledge of the level of damage and its spatial distribution is essential to:
• quantify the impact of fire on landscape;
• select and prioritize treatments applied on site;
• plan and monitor restoration and recovery activities;
• provide baseline information for future monitoring.
Between all these services proposed by SAFER, INSA is service provider of FMM-1, FMM-2, BSM-1 and BSM-2. (www.insageoservices.com)
Example of FMM-2 kmz-product (Fire in Kalmthout NationalPark, Belgium, May 2011, © INSA)
SAFER fire products have a strong scientific base, demonstrated by the number of scientific papers published in high impact journals and PhD thesis related to their development and testing. On the other hand, the methodologies developed are automatic or semi-automatic, what confirms the operational generation of fire products.
SAFER fire services were selected among the most mature products provided in previous GMES projects. During 18 months, the products were tested and improved, taking into account both the validation results and users’ feedback. In 2010, all products, except for GFR, were independently validated and checked by other partners and users of the project in order to evaluate their incorporation in the portfolio of operational services. User feedback results quantified the overall agreement with an average value of 4.15 over 5 (where 1 corresponds to “very low” and 5 to “very high” agreement), with a homogeneous trend for all products.
After all this validation process, the SAFER fire services have been considered fully operational and have been included to the core SAFER services (since July 2011). Any authorized user can now activate SAFER and ask for our products in case of natural disaster. (www.insageoservices.com)
Example of BSM-1 product (Fire in Kalmthout NationalPark, Belgium, June 2011, © INSA & ASTRIUM)
Active fire location and rapid burned area mapping (FMM-1 and FMM-2 products) will be provided in “emergency” mode within 8 hours from the receipt of the first suitable satellite image of the disaster, whereas detailed burned area mapping and fire severity will be delivered within 45 days (“emergency support” mode).
The distribution of these products to a wide number of users will contribute to better understand and forecast fire behavior, to manage the crisis in a more cost-effective way, to reduce the impacts and to plan and monitoring the mitigation and recovery activities.