The European Commission DG Joint Research Centre set up since 1999 a research|
group to work specifically on the development and implementation of advanced
methods for the evaluation of forest fire risk and mapping of burnt areas at
the European scale. These activities led to the development of the European
Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). Since the year 2003 EFFIS is part of
the Regulation (EC) No 2152/2003 (Forest Focus) of the European Council and
Parliament on monitoring of forests and environmental interactions. All the
EFFIS activities are coordinated with DG Environment to reach the final users,
Civil Protection and Forest Services, in the Member States.
EFFIS is aimed to provide relevant information for the protection of forests
against fire in Europe addressing both pre-fire and post-fire conditions.
On the pre-fire phase, EFFIS is focused both on the development of systems to
provide forest fire risk forecast based on existing fire risk indices, and on
the development of new integrated forest fire risk indicators (EFFIS - Risk
Forecast). These indices permit the harmonized assessment of forest fire risk
at the European scale. They may be used as tools for the assessment of risk
situations in cases in which international cooperation in the field of civil
protection is needed. Currently, the dynamic forest fire risk forecast indices
are available on the EFFIS web site and sent to the Member States Services
daily from the 1st of May until the 31st of October.
On the post-fire phase, EFFIS is focused on the estimation of annual damage
caused by forest fires in southern EU. All burned areas larger than 50 ha,
which account for around 75 % of the total area burnt in southern Europe are
mapped every year using satellite imagery (EFFIS - Damage Assessment).The first
cartography of forest fire damages in southern EU was produced on year 2000 and
continued for the subsequent years. Additionally, as from 2003 a new activity
for rapid assessment of forest fire damage has been developed in order to map
all the fires larger than 100 ha twice during the fire season: at the beginning
of August and at the beginning of October (EFFIS - Rapid Damage Assessment).
A EU Fire Database is also included in EFFIS (previously referred to as Common
Core database). The database contains the forest fire information compiled by
some of the EU Member States.
The outcome of research topics on forest fires currently investigated at the
JRC will be implemented in EFFIS in the forthcoming years. These topics are all
related to the post-fire phase and refer to forest fire atmospheric emissions,
vegetation regeneration, and post-fire risk analysis.
[Summary provided by the European Union Joint Research Center.]