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EUFIRELAB

EVR1-CT-2002-40028

D-06-05

http://eufirelab.org

EUFIRELAB:
Euro-Mediterranean Wildland Fire Laboratory,
a “wall-less” Laboratory
for Wildland Fire Sciences and Technologies
in the Euro-Mediterranean Region

Deliverable D-06-05

Decision support systems and tools:

Specifications and test beds

Coordinated by Gavriil XANTHOPOULOS


Vassiliki VARELA, Begona ARRUE, Emmanuel GARBOLINO, Luis-Paulo PITA
Luís RIBEIRO

December 2006

The views expressed are purely those of the writers and may not, in any circumstances, be regarded as stating an official
position of the European Commission
EUFIRELAB

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 Decision support systems overview ...................................................................................................................1
1.1 Introduction....................................................................................................................................................1
1.2 Context ..........................................................................................................................................................1
2 Functionalities and specifications.......................................................................................................................2
2.1 General approach..........................................................................................................................................2
2.2 Pre-suppression planning..............................................................................................................................2
2.2.1 Usual functions of a DSS for presuppression planning............................................................................4
2.2.2 Performance requirements.......................................................................................................................4
2.2.3 Some typical input requirements..............................................................................................................5
2.2.4 Typical outputs .........................................................................................................................................5
2.2.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations .....................................................................................................5
2.3 Forest fire risk................................................................................................................................................6
2.3.1 Usual functions of a DSS for forest fire risk assessment .........................................................................6
2.3.2 Performance requirements.......................................................................................................................6
2.3.3 Some typical input requirements..............................................................................................................6
2.3.4 Typical outputs .........................................................................................................................................7
2.3.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations .....................................................................................................7
2.4 Fire danger assessment................................................................................................................................7
2.4.1 Functions..................................................................................................................................................7
2.4.2 Usual functions of a DSS for forest fire risk assessment .........................................................................7
2.4.3 Performance requirements.......................................................................................................................8
2.4.4 Some typical input requirements..............................................................................................................8
2.4.5 Typical outputs .........................................................................................................................................8
2.4.6 Evaluation criteria and considerations .....................................................................................................8
2.5 Fire detection.................................................................................................................................................9
2.5.1 Terrestrial means .....................................................................................................................................9
2.5.2 Evaluation of the danger posed by a fire .................................................................................................9
2.5.3 Aerial means ..........................................................................................................................................11
2.5.4 Space borne platforms ...........................................................................................................................11
2.5.5 Performance requirements.....................................................................................................................11
2.6 Fire behaviour prediction.............................................................................................................................12
2.6.1 Functions................................................................................................................................................12
2.6.2 Performance requirements.....................................................................................................................12
2.6.3 Some typical input requirements............................................................................................................13
2.6.4 Typical outputs .......................................................................................................................................13
2.6.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations ...................................................................................................13
2.7 Operational dispatching and fire suppression .............................................................................................14
2.7.1 Functions................................................................................................................................................14
2.7.2 Usual functions of a DSS for dispatching and fire suppression .............................................................14
2.7.3 Some typical input requirements............................................................................................................15
2.7.4 Typical outputs .......................................................................................................................................15
2.7.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations ...................................................................................................15
2.8 Fire effects assessment and mitigation.......................................................................................................16
2.8.1 Usual functions.......................................................................................................................................16
2.8.2 Performance requirements.....................................................................................................................17
2.8.3 Some typical input requirements............................................................................................................17
2.8.4 Typical outputs .......................................................................................................................................17
2.8.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations ...................................................................................................17

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3 Technical specifications....................................................................................................................................18
3.1 General approach........................................................................................................................................18
3.2 Satellite remote sensing ..............................................................................................................................18
3.2.1 Currently used technologies...................................................................................................................18
3.2.2 Fields of use, success, problems and other considerations ..................................................................20
3.2.3 New alternatives and technologies ........................................................................................................21
3.2.4 Specifications for the future....................................................................................................................22
3.3 Programming considerations.......................................................................................................................22
3.3.1 Fields of use, success, problems and other considerations ..................................................................22
3.3.2 New alternatives and technologies ........................................................................................................22
3.4 Open versus closed platforms.....................................................................................................................23
3.4.1 Currently used technologies...................................................................................................................23
3.4.2 Fields of use, success, problems and other considerations ..................................................................24
3.4.3 Specifications for the future....................................................................................................................24
4 GIS technologies and systems.........................................................................................................................26
4.1 Currently used technologies........................................................................................................................26
4.1.1 Components of a GIS-based DSS .........................................................................................................26
4.1.2 Methods used by a GIS based DSS ......................................................................................................26
4.1.3 How to characterize the development and use of GIS technology ........................................................27
4.1.4 Common GIS analyses performed by Forest Fire related DSS.............................................................28
4.1.5 Topological Overlay................................................................................................................................29
4.1.6 Neighbourhood Operations ....................................................................................................................30
4.1.7 Connectivity Analysis .............................................................................................................................31
4.2 Fields of use, success, problems and other considerations .......................................................................31
4.2.1 Historic reminder ....................................................................................................................................31
4.2.2 Data Accuracy and Quality.....................................................................................................................32
4.3 New alternative technologies ......................................................................................................................33
4.3.1 Web-based GIS......................................................................................................................................33
4.3.2 Distributed Systems ...............................................................................................................................34
4.4 Specifications for the future.........................................................................................................................34
4.4.1 Computing field ......................................................................................................................................34
4.4.2 Interesting functions ...............................................................................................................................35
5 Bibliography......................................................................................................................................................36
6 Data sets for testing Decision Support Systems (DSS) and tools : “TEST BEDS” .........................................38
6.1 Temperature profiles over experimental fires in a wind tunnel ...................................................................39
6.2 Early fire alarms for dispatching ..................................................................................................................41
6.3 Small scale laboratory propagating fires .....................................................................................................43
6.4 Sub-models for heat transfer and pressure drop inside pine needles fuel beds.........................................45
6.5 Fire spread characteristics & parameters– Mt. Mainalon, August 2000 .....................................................48
6.6 Fire spread characteristics & parameters– Mt. Penteli 1995 ......................................................................50
6.7 Digital maps of burned areas from selected study sites within the Euromediterranean Region.................52
6.8 Human wildfire risk estimation maps at regional scale using anthropogenic variables ..............................54

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SUMMARY
This deliverable is the result of an effort that started in the beginning of the EUFIRELAB project aiming at
investigating existing decision support systems for forest fires (FFDSS) and operational user needs in order to
develop some common, basic, but important specifications, usable in future efforts to produce such systems.
Three earlier deliverables preceded the present document. Some of their contents are included in this final
document. The first deliverable was a report on the state of the art in FFDSSs. The emphasis was on presenting
the systems and their characteristics. The effort was concentrated on their content with only minimal references to
their technical side. The following two deliverables were intermediate steps in the effort to develop the FFDSS
specifications that are presented in the current document. In them, the technological aspects and considerations
related to the platforms on which FFDSS are built, were addressed is some depth.
The main categories of FFDSS and fire management tools identified correspond to the following functions of
forest fire management:
- Presuppression planning
- Fire danger assessment
- Fire detection
- Fire behavior prediction
- Operational fire suppression (incl. dispatching)
- Fire effects assessment and mitigation
Based on the study of the identified systems, certain common characteristics were identified for the FFDSSs in
each of the categories. These are
- Usual functions that the FFDSS is expected to perform
- Performance requirements
- Some typical input requirements
- Typical outputs
- Evaluation criteria and considerations
All these identified characteristics are described and discussed in this report; they can be very helpful to anyone
trying to develop an FDSS belonging to the above mentioned categories.
The second part of the report consists of a compilation of “test beds” for testing FFDSS. The meaning of “test
beds” was defined as “data sets on which existing or future DSS and tools can be tested”. A list was developed
including information on available data sets that can be used to test (wholly or partly) a DSS in one of the main
FFDSS categories.
The list of data sets was prepared mainly with contributions from EUFIRELAB partners. A “metadata form” was
developed for obtaining this information. Some of the data sets in the list have already been used for testing
existing DSS systems, in which case they are even more interesting for future tests as there may be opportunities
for comparisons.
It is important to note that the form filled for each test bed also lists contact information for the data owner and a
short description of the data set, including any probable limitations

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1 DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS OVERVIEW

1.1 INTRODUCTION 1.2 CONTEXT


The idea of developing Forest Fire Decision Support As was pointed out in the state-of-the-art report,
Systems (FFDSS) is now well over thirty years old. until now there has been no established definition of a
Numerous systems have been developed in this FFDSS.
period but, to this date, the level of their success, as The definitions in use cover a broad spectrum of
judged by their operational adoption, is extremely what an FFDSS is and what it is not.
variable.
The extremes are roughly marked at one end by a
Few of them, such as the BEHAVE fire behaviour focus on Decision Support and at the other on System.
prediction system (BURGAN and ROTHERMEL 1984) have The difficulty of developing a definition for a FFDSS
been around and used successfully for more than 20 is because the technology that FFDSS draws upon
years. constantly changes.
Others found only limited use: As new tools become available and suitable, new
- either spatially (one or few locations) or types of FFDSS will be built.
- temporally (only used for a short period of time and
On the other hand, the situation is more stable at
then abandoned).
the “forest fire decision support” end.
Others only remained at a prototype (research)
Hence, the problem of preparing specifications for
stage.
FFDSS (and for individual fire management tools) has
The overall result, at least in Europe, is generally
to be broken into two parts.
little use of FFDSSs in operational fire management
(XANTHOPOULOS 2002). The first, part refers to the elements and
There are many reasons for the fate of all these characteristics that must be included in a decision
FFDSSs. support tool to match the needs and requirements of
operational users.
Assuming that all users and potential developers
Clearly, this part is focused on (relatively) long-term
want to maximize success of their systems, as judged
needs and standards, tied and driven by considerations
by their usefulness, efficiency, effectiveness, longevity,
of real-world fire management.
etc., it is clear that there are many reasons behind the
history of adoption and use, success or failure, of each The second part refers to the technical standards for
one of the systems reaching the operational application the development, interconnection and interoperability of
stage. modern FFDSSs.
Some of these reasons may be related to politics or These standards include issues of software and
to coincidences, of course. even hardware and are generally more apt to change
However, there are certainly some objective as:
reasons that more-or-less influence the fate of a DSS - programming languages change,
concerning its use in the operational world. - computer tools evolve,
- operating systems become obsolete,
If better and more successful FFDSSs are to be
- database connectivity is redefined, etc..
produced in the future, it is clearly needed to:
- look into these reasons, Given this approach, a FFDSS developer needs to
- analyse existing needs and tools, and be aware of both the functional and technical
- prepare specifications that will direct their specifications in order to develop an up-to-date system
development. with a reasonably useful life expectancy.
This is the focus of the work carried out within work The objective is to achieve a useful and desirable
package 6 of the EUFIRELAB project and presented in result by following the functional specifications that will
this report aiming to contribute to the future also have reasonable hopes for acceptance, probably
development of better FFDSS that will be more useful sales, and ultimately longevity, by adopting modern but
and will be adopted more widely by the potential users. well established development standards.
Subsequently, emphasis should be given to the
development of both types of specifications.
This obviously leads to the content of this report that
reflects this double objective.

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2 FUNCTIONALITIES AND SPECIFICATIONS

2.1 GENERAL APPROACH 2.2 PRE-SUPPRESSION PLANNING


The general approach followed for developing the A DSS for pre-suppression planning should be an
specifications is first to recognize the main categories off-line tool able to facilitate decisions that have to be
of existing FFDSS and individual tools in order to made during the planning process and to aid in the
identify their main functions and to derive their physical production of the plan.
specifications. Development of a pre-suppression plan necessarily
Then for each one of these categories, the inputs, includes:
functionalities and outputs are described. - a) to collect and present, in a readily accessible
The study of existing systems (many of them form, of all relevant data and information (spatial,
reported in the state-of-the-art report) and their history statistical, managerial, operational, …).
of operational use are two important tools for critical - b) to analyse data and information for recognizing
analysis. dangers, priorities, needed works and actions.
The questionnaires on decision support systems - c) to determine the role and the way in which
that have been filled by EUFIRELAB partners and stakeholders are to become involved and to
operational users provide useful information in this function: specification of actions to do, responsible
respect. persons, ways of communication, conditions for
involvement, level of involvement, etc….
The main categories of FFDSS systems and fire
- either before the onset of an emergency or
management tools recognized until now
- when an incident actually occurs.
(XANTHOPOULOS et al. 2004), correspond to the
following functions of forest fire management: A computer-based system that only keeps track of
- Pre-suppression planning information and offers functions that facilitate point (a)
- Fire danger assessment above can be considered as a simple “Management
- Fire detection Information System” (MIS).
- Fire behaviour prediction Such a system provides the necessary basic
- Operational fire suppression (including dispatching) information to the manager on which to base decisions.
- Fire effects assessment and mitigation In the not-so-distant past, the outputs of computer
systems consisted of heaps of printed pages with
Although this categorisation serves illustration
numbers.
purposes quite well, it should be mentioned that many
systems belonging to one category incorporate For complex problems, the manager would still pick
information, models, or even subsystems that belong to a few numbers from such a printout and then use
another category. personal judgement to interpret their meaning and to
For example, fire behaviour models are often central make decisions.
to operational fire suppression systems. The development of MISs provided help in this
respect, by providing services that help the manager in
In addition to these, special mention must be made
this task.
to systems focused on forest management or general
Examples are tables of pre-selected values
land management but include a strong fire component.
showing, for example:
Additional DSSs and tools are also available that - trends in the data, costs and other important values,
are not directly linked or specifically designed for forest - presentation of selected data in the form of graphs,
fire management or that try to address multiple risks. - calculation of pre-specified statistics of interest, etc.
It should be noted that there may be several DSS
packages in an organization but only one MIS.
Several managers may use the same DSS.
A manager may use more than one DSS (LEIGH and
DOHERTY, 1986).
Nowadays, there exist many, non-specialized
software products that can facilitate such tasks.
Such tools include Geographic Information Systems
for spatial information storage and presentation,
advanced database management systems for
alphanumeric information, etc.).
Moreover, all of these tools include significant
capabilities to analyse data and maps, as specified in
(b) above, so that decisions of managers are facilitated
further.

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However, this is still not a fully developed dedicated The system models the occurrence and suppression
DSS, since a Decision Support System should have the of simultaneous fires and the interaction of fires that
potential to integrate data, methods, models, and other occurs when congestion slows initial attack response.
tools, within a framework that explicitly addresses the Many tangible and intangible fire impacts are
process of making decisions. addressed and the results of an analysis of the use of
foam by fire crews serve to illustrate how LANIK can be
Consequently, a complete DSS should offer at least
used to help evaluate level of protection alternatives.
two additional features:
- Automated processing and/or analysis of the data Another system, initially developed by the Canadian
with the help of models or heuristics (rules of Forest Service, is the Spatial Fire Management System
thumb), that lead to deeper analyses and ultimately (SFMS).
to the production of problem specific derived new It is a spatial GIS decision support application.
information, and SFMS is linked to FIRES, and its information is used
- Guidance to the manager on the actions to be for pre-suppression preparedness planning to
taken, by applying decision science principles. determine fire weather index, ignition probability and
Generating alternative, candidate solutions is number of resources required to meet anticipated fire
generally a task for human creativity. loads.
The DSS, however, should help the manager SFMS is also used to predict fire behaviour spatially
choose the “best” alternative (LEIGH and DOHERTY, by providing head fire intensity, rate of spread, fuel
1986). consumption, and fire description.
SFMS includes Wildfire Threat assessment
Point (c) above, is mainly political, but a DSS could
capability.
potentially include functions and tools that would
The Canadian Wildland Fire Growth Model
facilitate the tasks involved, such as tracking
(Prometheus) will be incorporated into SFMS.
application of the plan.
These enhancements will significantly improve the
A DSS for pre-suppression planning can be a quite business by helping to concentrate resources on those
complex system and may include a large number of areas at greatest risk of loss.
functions. The Wildland Fire Growth Model will also aid in
Building on the foundation laid above, the functions long-term landscape planning.
of the computerized system for pre-suppression
In Europe, the first system that could be used to
planning would need to include at a minimum the
some extent for pre-suppression planning was
“basic” MIS-type functions needed for carrying-out the
developed within the framework of the EPOC-040
task, and additionally the analysis tools that
project and was developed by a consortium led by
characterize a sophisticated, advanced, DSS.
ALGOSYSTEMS S.A. (Greece) (EFTICHIDIS et al. 1994a
Independent stand-alone tools that can produce the
and 1994b).
desirable outputs/products to be used as inputs for pre-
suppression planning may provide the basic functions. One of the most sophisticated DSS systems for pre-
However, good integration and a seamless suppression planning in Europe to this date is FOMFIS.
operation of many such tools becomes a challenge for It was developed within the framework of the
developers of such a system. FOMFIS project that was partially funded by the
Directorate General for Research of the European
The number of dedicated DSS systems for pre-
Commission.
suppression planning that have been built around the
The main goal of the FOMFIS project was to
world is not large.
integrate, within a single computer application frame
The complexity needed and the difficulty of
(the FOMFIS system), a set of technological solutions
producing an adaptable “catch-all” system for use in
using the same information system platform, thus
many different environments and situations may be one
allowing forest fire service personnel to accomplish
of the reasons discouraging developers.
timely, accurately and cost effectively their off-line
A short, focused survey below offers a glimpse of
planning duties, mainly pre-suppression activities.
such systems.
More specifically, the FOMFIS system was
Scenarios generation and analysis tools are the
conceived and built as a modular system running under
most important elements characterising a true DSS.
the same user interface integrating:
One system that can be considered as an example
- remote sensing,
of this type is LANIK, a decision support system that is
- statistical analysis,
designed to evaluate alternative levels of forest fire
- stochastic generation,
protection in the province of Ontario.
- knowledge-based simulation systems,
The system includes an initial attack simulation - simulation models and
model that predicts the impact of fire fighters, transport - spatial analysis tools.
aircraft, and air tankers on several measures of
effectiveness including initial attack response time, the
fraction of fires that escape initial attack, and area
burned.

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As such, it touched several areas of forest fire 2.2.1 Usual functions of a DSS for
research including elements that belong to point 6 presuppression planning
above.
A DSS of this type ideally should facilitate fire
These elements are:
managers to prepare as best as possible, at a
- Forest fuel mapping with the help of remote sensing
minimum, for the next fire season. Obviously, this task
(LANDSAT images were used at the time (1997-
requires more than just YES/NO type answers.
1999) as images from the higher resolution newer
Hence, such a DSS must include:
satellites were not available yet).
- A software tool for the representation of
- Socio-economic risk analysis
cartographic information (preferably a GIS module
- Forest fire behaviour and fire fighting simulation
offering spatial analysis and modelling capabilities),
- Probabilistic planning
- A powerful database
The novelty of the system included the possibility to - A fire modelling system
simulate fire ignitions and spread with a spatial and - A module that can combine information, rules and
temporal distribution according of calculated conditions to develop the DSS’s outcomes. It can be
probabilities, while weather was also simulated an advanced module with procedural control or an
according to the historical weather patterns. inference engine with data driven control.
The system was also able to simulate fire fighting. - An effective user interface with capacity to easily
In this way, FOMFIS simulated plausible fire input information (e.g. scenarios builder), good
scenarios for periods that ranged from a few days to reporting, and map production capabilities.
whole fire seasons.
A DSS with the above elements should normally be
This was repeated numerous times, according to
able to offer the basic functions that are needed to
user specifications, and average estimates of the
support pre-suppression planning.
outcomes (costs, damages) for user specified
These functions include:
scenarios could be calculated.
- 1. Map production and analysis
The user could define various scenarios including
- 2. Fuel mapping
level of fire fighting resources, location of bases, fuel
- 3. Non-spatial database functions
treatments etc. and run the system in order to evaluate
- 4. Fire behaviour modelling
the resulting average, minimum and maximum costs
- 5. Coarse (at least) fire fighting simulation or
and damages after a number of runs he/she specified.
assessment
The FOMFIS system proved the feasibility of the - 6. Scenarios generation and analysis tools
concept of probabilistic planning, and paved the way for
It should be noted that a DSS that would aim to
future DSSs.
address long-term planning strategies would ideally
Efforts on development of systems based on an
also include a fire effects modelling system (see
approach similar to FOMFIS started in the USA a few
REINHARDT et al 2001) and probably a forest growth
years later.
simulator.
The FOMFIS system was demonstrated with great
2.2.2 Performance requirements
success in many countries, including Spain, France
and Greece. Performance in regard to speed is not critical
It made a marked impression to potential users. because pre-suppression planning takes place well
For example, French end-users requested about the before the fire season.
fate of the system, and its probable availability seven However, if complex “what-if” scenarios are to be
years later, at the concluding workshop and run, such as in the FOMFIS system, an acceptable
presentation of the EUFIRELAB project in Avignon in level of speed is desirable (in the order of a few hours)
October 2006, commenting on the impression it had to avoid discouraging the users.
made to them and its potential usefulness.
However, the system did not manage to become a Another aspect of performance has to do with the
commercial product. size of the area that can be handled and analysed
efficiently by the system.
Part of the reason was the heavy data requirements
and its complexity, which however, cannot be avoided Advances in computer hardware characteristics
in a system with such a level of sophistication. such as memory size and hard disk capacity make this
requirement less difficult to meet, but software
Furthermore, the changes in hardware and software
platforms that take place, would require costly limitations should be taken into consideration as well.
maintenance/upgrade efforts that are not easy to
finance without an obvious potential clientele.

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2.2.3 Some typical input requirements Finally, if such a system is to be used in conjunction
with the next logical step, the DSS must be able to
Typical (minimum) input requirements include:
dispatch fire fighting forces and management, i.e. to be
- Topographic information (DTM)
tailored also for day-to-day operations during the fire
- Vegetation distribution information (both vegetation
season.
types and vegetation as fuel maps)
This DSS should include information (data base)
- Detailed road network map
and produce outputs about available resources of
- Map of firebreaks, fuel breaks and other fuel
various types that may have to be mobilized (e.g.
treatment zones
contacts for dozers, water trucks, local authorities, etc.)
- Map of especially high fire danger zones (e.g. areas
of forest blow-downs, snow damage, excessive 2.2.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations
slash, etc.)
A DSS of this type is a quite complex tool.
- Maps of sensitive areas (wildland-urban interface
Subsequently, one of the main benchmarks for its
areas, tourist areas, national parks, high-biodiversity
success is to offer at least an acceptable level of
areas, etc.), other facilities and infrastructures, to be
complexity for the user.
used for setting protection priorities
This means, a friendly user-interface, with
- Soil map
substantial on-line help support that can solve
- Cost data (values at risk, fire fighting costs, etc.)
ambiguities in regard to the inputs and interpretation of
- Ownership map
the outputs.
- Fire prevention (e.g. lookouts, cameras) means
available and their characteristics. Developers of such a DSS should keep in mind that
- Fire suppression means available and their in situations that users embark for the first time in the
characteristics. effort to prepare an advanced, quantifiable, computer-
- Climatic data (raw or processed. In the first case the based pre-suppression plan, much of the needed
DSS should have processing capacity) information (see input requirements above) may not be
- Historic fire data (location of fires, burned areas, readily available.
etc.) This may discourage users and lead to the
abandonment of the DSS, as it happened with FOMFIS
Appropriately, processed remote sensing data can
(which, however, was a prototype tool, outcome of a
be used to cover some of the above input
research project that explored the potential of this
requirements.
idea).
2.2.4 Typical outputs Hence, a successful DSS for pre-suppression
planning should be somewhat modular.
The outputs of a DSS focused on pre-suppression
It should provide for different levels of completeness
planning can be quite variable in form depending on the
of inputs producing output that is possible based on the
needs.
available information.
However, they should provide decision support for
some or all of the following problems: Another criterion of success and maturity of such a
- Given a specific amount of resources; what is the system is its stability and transparent use of its
best way to locate them in space? components.
- Given the historic characteristics of the fire season, The complexity of the system should not prevent the
what is the optimum way to start building up the seamless integration of user interface, GIS
resources in the beginning of the fire season? How functionality, databases, online information collection,
to reduce them at the end? This should be dynamic inference engine, etc.
for each fire season, in order to evaluate needs as
Concerning the actual DSS product, the outputs
conditions develop.
described above, can be judged according to their
- In an effort to improve suppression, what new
completeness, correctness, and applicability.
resources and infrastructures (e.g. lookouts, water
Two critical points in this respect, are:
hydrants, heliports, etc.) are best to be acquired /
- The existence of financial data and justification for
employed or built?
the proposed actions, and
- What is the average (static) fire danger zoning
- Documentation of the evaluation process that leads
based on historic weather/fire characteristics?
to the proposed actions.
- Fire danger zoning for different extreme weather
patterns.
For all the above the DSS should provide not only
operationally optimum answers but also financial
information (cost, potential damages under alternative
scenarios, etc.) that can greatly facilitate decision
makers, and, most important, can provide good
justification for budget allocation.

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2.3 FOREST FIRE RISK Forest fire risk assessment is a serious task to be
elaborated well before the fire season.
Another ambitious DSS effort, developed under the
However, a DSS developed for this purpose may
EU IST programme, which focused mainly on fire risk,
have a real time operational module that will support:
was FORFAIT.
- real-time data analysis: fire, weather, fire cause,…
FORFAIT set out to develop and demonstrate a
and
Decision Support System to assist planners, regulators
- decisions for prevention actions in a dynamic way.
and industry in epitomizing the management of forest
fire risks, on a holistic, integrated and traceable basis. Then, logically, such a DSS could also be integrated
The system was to be used as a tool in planning, with a system belonging to the next category (DSS for
educational, regulatory and business contexts. fire danger assessment).
The emphasis of FORFAIT was on implementing 2.3.2 Performance requirements
measures that eliminate or mitigate harm to humans,
Here again performance in regard to speed is not
the environment and business, using a cost benefit
critical because fire risk assessment normally takes
approach where appropriate and depending on local
place well before the fire season.
regulatory requirements.
In case of real-time support capability performance
Some of the ideas behind FOMFIS were present in
should be better, but in general the processing load
FORFAIT.
would not be expected to be very high.
This system consisted of three different kinds of It should be possible to perform it without any
applications: special hardware requirements.
- planning of fire prevention actions;
2.3.3 Some typical input requirements
- co-ordination of personnel training activities;
- simulation of critical stages. The most important input requirements have to do
with past fire occurrence statistics and with terrain
The system is based on the integration of various
value.
information sources, such as satellite downlink,
The detail and accuracy needed is higher than in the
meteorological data, state-of-the-art predictive models,
previous category of DSS.
or involved professionals expertise and knowledge.
Data should also be available on fire causes.
Decision process are aided by a support system
Depending on the models included and the degree
based on fuzzy logic to suggest the most appropriate
of sophistication of the system, socio-economic data
course of action; also a probabilistic framework, which
may also be needed.
takes into account the uncertainty in the parameters, is
In addition to these, basic data like the ones
aiding the process.
required for pre-suppression planning are also needed
2.3.1 Usual functions of a DSS for forest fire here:
risk assessment - Topographic information (DTM)
- Vegetation distribution information (both vegetation
Such a DSS has many similarities or can even be
types and vegetation as fuel maps)
part of a DSS developed for pre-suppression planning.
- Detailed road network map
However, normally, although it may use some of the
- Map of firebreaks, fuel breaks and other fuel
input information described in 2.2.3. above, it should
treatment zones
optimally provide emphasis to forest fire risk
- Map of especially high fire danger zones (e.g. areas
assessment and guide the corresponding fire
of forest blow-downs, snow damage, excessive
prevention actions.
slash, etc.)
The following functions can be the core of a DSS for
- Maps of sensitive areas (wildland-urban interface
forest fire risk assessment:
areas, tourist areas, national parks, high-biodiversity
- Spatial risk assessment, where risk does not only
areas, etc.), other facilities and infrastructures, to be
have the “classic” meaning given to “fire risk” in
used for setting protection priorities
many earlier (1970s and 1980s) USDA Forest
- Ownership map
Service publications (i.e. the probability of fire
- Climatic data (raw or processed. In the first case the
eruption), but also includes potential damage
DSS should have processing capacity)
assessment.
- Temporal risk assessment. A database of potential prevention actions should be
- Identification of the sources and characteristics of developed, including rules of when to employ each type
risk and the corresponding potential prevention of action and the associated cost of the actions.
actions.
- Cost assessment for prevention actions.
- Cost-benefit analysis, prevention cost vs. (reduction
of fire fighting cost + potential damage reduction).

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2.3.4 Typical outputs 2.4 FIRE DANGER ASSESSMENT


A DSS system for fire risk assessment should strive 2.4.1 Functions
to provide the following outputs:
The main functionality of a fire danger system is to:
- Statistical assessment of fire eruption probabilities in
- obtain and manage data on the factors that
space and time.
contribute to fire danger,
- Identification of the types of prevention action
- weigh them according to a predetermined
needed
methodology (fire danger model) and
- Fire damage potential assessment map
- produce outputs in the most desirable form.
- Integrated static fire risk maps with associated
actions for fire risk mitigation (priorities, time and A system that would focus on local fire danger
extent of intervention) estimation would not amount to much.
- Identification of intervention priorities in WUI areas Such systems, applications of NFDRS in the USA,
- Identification of areas where fuel treatment is have been available since the 1980s in the form of:
needed - dedicated programmable calculators: e.g. the TI-59
(BURGAN 1979) or the HP-71B (BURGAN and SUSOTT
All these should be accompanied by cost estimates.
1986), or even
In case of a dynamic system, prevention actions - as concentric wheels, tables or simple formulas
should be a daily output following daily situation (NOBLE et al. 1980) have been available for a long
analysis. time.
2.3.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations However, complexity increases very steeply with the
need for prevision of fire danger over large expanses of
A DSS for fire risk assessment can be evaluated
land.
based on the help it can provide to the users.
In that case, data are obtained from maps, often
A simpler system will stop at the point where risk
produced from:
maps are provided to the user for his/her perusal.
- satellite images (e.g. vegetation greenness maps) or
The actions to be taken would be totally his/hers
- automatic remote weather stations.
based, of course, largely on the analysis of the DSS.
This would not be surprising because developing a Meteorological predictions may be obtained in
prevention program is a complex task requiring various forms from meteorological models.
considerable synthetic (and often creative) effort. All these are fed to the fire danger model and values
are calculated over large areas.
However, an advanced system would have a
The final output is in the form of maps, which must
friendly user interface, would
not only possess a reasonable level of accuracy but
- provide suggestions for specific actions to the user
they must also be prepared in a timely manner.
(from which to choose),
- include cost estimates and Based on these it becomes obvious that a system
- help him/her develop easily a quite detailed plan for fire danger assessment may be part of a broader
(and report) for action. FFDSS or a standalone system.
Its functions should facilitate automatic data
collection, error checking, calculation of the needed
indices, and map production.
Further useful features include highlighting of alert
areas according to pre-specified criteria.
This can be especially useful when the weather is
updated automatically so responses (e.g. alert level)
are not only predicted but also monitored in real time.
2.4.2 Usual functions of a DSS for forest fire
risk assessment
The exact functions of a DSS of this type may vary
significantly.
One of the reasons is that the DSS can be an
extension of the corresponding model for estimating fire
danger with the main objective for it being to facilitate
decisions on how to utilize the fire danger predictions.
This said, it can easily be seen that such a DSS can
be part of a larger DSS on fire risk assessment, pre-
suppression planning, or, more commonly, of a system
supporting preparedness and dispatching of fire fighting
forces.

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2.4.3 Performance requirements Other than the fire danger map, such a DSS can
provide guidance on how to utilize the fire danger
Such a system ideally should have the capacity to
predictions.
obtain data from various sources (meteorological
This however may easily transform it (or lead to its
stations, satellites, Internet), preferably in an automatic
inclusion) to a fire prevention DSS.
way, and to process them in a short amount of time.
2.4.6 Evaluation criteria and considerations
Emphasis is needed on storage capacity, data base
performance and graphical output production, speed A DSS of this type must produce dependable
being a relatively lesser priority. predictions in a timely way and convenient format.
Obviously, it will be evaluated according to these
2.4.4 Some typical input requirements
criteria.
Typical inputs include:
The most important role is played by the accuracy
- Topographic information (DTM)
and robustness of the fire danger system incorporated
- Vegetation distribution information (both vegetation
in the DSS.
types and vegetation as fuel maps)
In large countries such as the USA and Canada, the
- Map of especially high fire danger zones (e.g. areas
choice is national and there is little room for deviations.
of forest blow-downs, snow damage, excessive
In other cases, such as in certain European
slash, etc.)
countries, the effort for
- Real-time meteorological data.
- developing a fire danger system,
- Detailed meteorological previsions in the form of
- selecting an existing system or even
maps.
- adapting an existing one is ongoing.
- Historic fire data (number and distribution of fires,
etc.) User acceptance, as manifested by the operational
- Information on the condition of vegetation. adoption of the system, is the ultimate criterion of
Vegetation greenness assessment is a common success.
input and is usually derived from satellite data. The User acceptance will be higher if the DSS is capable
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is providing more guidance than the fire danger system
commonly calculated over the landscape for this alone.
purpose. Hence, its interoperability, compatibility and even
inclusion in fire prevention DSS systems, for example,
Appropriately, processed remote sensing data can
is an obvious plus.
be used to cover some of the above input requirements
(topography, vegetation). On the technical side, ease of obtaining data (e.g.
Furthermore, depending on model used and level of automatically from online providers or automatic
detail (e.g. detailed model for fire eruption probability) weather stations), transparency in processing them and
other inputs such as a detailed road network map may production of the final result with minimum user effort
be needed. are important considerations.
Availability of an option for the user to backtrack the
2.4.5 Typical outputs
information leading (for example) to a specific alert
The most common output is a predicted fire danger condition, is also very desirable.
map (for various prevision lengths of time).
The detail of the map (spatial resolution, danger
classes) depends on the intended application of the
system.
A useful feature may be that of integrating fire
danger over different areas.
For example, an automated system may produce a
danger prevision assessment at a given (maximum)
resolution, dictated for example by the type of satellite
sensor used for assessment of ground information such
as fuels and their condition (e.g. NDVI).
However, such a level of detail may make the
information difficult to grasp and utilize on the part of
the user.
Clustering of pixels with the same index is a first
positive step to alleviate the problem.
However, it may be more desirable to obtain
weighted fire danger previsions for specific tracts of
land that have a practical meaning for the user.
Examples are administrative boundaries of various
types corresponding with user jurisdictions, forest
management units, etc.

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2.5 FIRE DETECTION 2.5.2 Evaluation of the danger posed by a fire


2.5.1 Terrestrial means This sub-chapter is dedicated to the evaluation of
the danger posed by a fire, for initial attack, from
The fire detection activities are an important issue
terrestrial fire detection images
that concerns all the institutions with responsibilities in
fire detection and fire monitoring activities. The GRVC-USE-P007 group has developed as part
of its contribution to the EUFIRELAB project a software
Those institutions, Forest Services, National Parks,
tool (Initial Attack Fuzzy System (IAFS)) from the
Private Institutions or Fire Fighters and Civil Protection
information provided by CEREN in the frame of
Services have responsibilities in the planning and
SPREAD project (Contract Nº EVG1-CT-2001-00043).
implementation of the Fire Detection Plan.
The tool computes a danger index for initial attack.
It is essential for the success of the Fire Detection
This system receives as inputs information such as:
Plan that we have an interactive cooperation between
- the visual image of the fire,
those institutions.
- meteorological conditions and
It is known that if a fire is detected in an early stage, - characteristics of the terrain were the fire was
it is easily fought, with lower cost and consequently detected.
lower economical and ecological losses.
The system was trained with data from real fires and
The fire detection plan has basically two was validated with real fires (see IAFS Internal report).
components: The Initial Attack Fuzzy System (IAFS) is a software
- the first one is based on aerial means and tool designed to provide a fire danger index.
- the second one on terrain (ground) means. It receives information from the fire alarm and
computes a fire danger index according to the fire
In the terrain means we have the group ground
fighting expertise.
based detection platforms were we can distinguish
patrols on foot or by vehicle through fire terrain, Many artificial intelligence techniques can be used
equipped with binoculars and communication tools. to incorporate expert knowledge in a software tool such
as neural networks, fuzzy logic and Bayesian networks.
Watchtowers are usually built on mountaintops and Fuzzy logic was chosen for the development of the
person(s) in the tower scan the area looking for smoke. IAFS.
The towers are equipped with a radio and a
The main motivation for this decision is based on
compass to give the right direction of the smoke. the properties of fuzzy logic to express imprecise –
The person on the tower is familiar with the terrain close to human understanding- information.
and can tell in which valley the fire has probably started
Other reason is that fuzzy logic uses explicit easy-
(BREEJEN, 1997). to-understand- rules to represent reasoning while other
Automated or semi-automated land based systems methods use implicit difficult-to-understand relations.
are like watchtowers build on a top of a mountain to Furthermore, fuzzy logic also offers tools to perform
look around. training of fuzzy systems such as that described in
Either they replace the person on the watchtower, or (JANG, 1993).
they assist the person on the tower. According to the expertise of some fire fighters
The systems function 24 hours a day 7 days a consulted, for the computation of the fire danger index
week.
information about the following three aspects should be
Almost the whole spectrum is used for detection. considered for the danger evaluation:
AlI-automatic or semi-automatic ground based - smoke properties,
systems have a central alarm station. - geographical information and
In this Central, a computer terminal shows the fire - meteorological conditions.
position on a map, and it is possible to send an image Then, the architecture of the IAFS is shown here
from the camera to the alarm station.
below: it consists of four fuzzy systems.
The transmission from the alarm station to the
sensor in the field is possible by satellite link, radio link, Three of them (SMOKE, GEO-INFO, METEO) are
mobile telephone, or telephone line (voice/ISDN). used for the analysis of smoke data, meteorological
conditions and geographical information respectively.
Each of them receives as inputs the data associated
to the corresponding aspect and provides an evaluation
of the fire danger index.
The fourth fuzzy system is used to integrate the fire
danger indexes computed from smoke information,
meteorological conditions and geographical information
in an overall fire danger estimation, which is the output
of the IAFS.
This fuzzy system will be called INITIAL. (see IAFS
Internal report).

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Evaluation CEREN’s experts classified the danger of the fire by


choosing a value between “1”, “2”, “3”, “4” and “5”, in
The fuzzy systems of the IAFS were evaluated with
which “1” means very low danger and “5” means very
real early fire alarms provided by CEREN.
high danger.
The following information was available for each
alarm: For the comparison with the results of the IAFS,
- hour, date and watchtower of the detection, these values were transformed of an index in the range
- visual images of the smoke plume, [0,1], where “1” means danger index of 0.0 and “5”
- estimations of smoke colour and speed of means danger index of 1.0. (see IAFS Internal report).
development, It is observed that the IAFS tool provides values
- type of vegetation of the area and its accessibility similar to those estimated by experts.
and other data. However, these results should be taken as
promising results.
By means of images and the data, CEREN’s fire
In fact, the system should be intensively trained and
fighting experts provided a value of fire danger index
evaluated with actual fires before using it in operational
for each case.
conditions.

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Image data are received from an existing receiving


2.5.3 Aerial means
station operated by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
The aerial surveillance flights range: Images of size 1024 x 1024 (approximately 1150 km
- from simple planes with a pilot/observer equipped x 1150 km) are received via a computer network.
with a radio, Channels 2 (reflected sunlight), 3 (middle infrared),
- up to large planes with water dropping capacity and 4 (thermal infrared) of the A VHRR sensor are
equipped with an infrared camera. used.
The processing includes:
The observer is flown over the area in a prefixed - detection and marking of image lines affected by
flight plan for optimised detection. reception errors,
In the Netherlands, the typical turn around time is
- image rectification,
20 minutes. - detection of hot spots,
There are also fires reported by commercial airline - elimination of false alarms, and
pilots. - generation of alert messages by e-mail and fax.
GPS is used for precise positioning of the fire. Each path of connected "hot" pixels is considered as
Guidance of initial attack crews towards the fire is
a potential fire.
the main advantage of aerial surveillance flights on the The fires where the imaging geometry is close to the
other detection platforms. case of specular reflection are eliminated as false
Forward-looking Infrared (FLIR) camera is a camera alarm three additional constraints are also applied.
system that produces an image on which the
2.5.5 Performance requirements
pilot/observer can see the temperature differences.
With this kind of images, it is possible to see starting In conclusion of all the above, in the field of fire
fires. detection, there are two main considerations.
Another useful aspect of these images is the The first one is detecting probable starting fire spots
possibility to see the relatively cold drops of water and early enough and with enough spatial accuracy to
they can see if their contrail line is continuous even in cover the existing needs: these needs vary between
thick smoke. countries.
For example, a delay of a few hours may be
2.5.4 Space borne platforms acceptable for the conditions in Finland or Siberia
With the space borne platforms, the aspects of time whereas a 15-minute delay may be too much for a
and scale are the most obvious. Mediterranean country in the middle of the summer.
- Landsat TM with a resolution of 30 meters passes Concerning this point much depends on the
every 16 days, characteristics of the sensors (resolution, positioning or
- NOAA A VHRR with a resolution of 1.1 km passes revisit time etc.).
twice a day and The second consideration is the one of most interest
- geo-stationary satellite GOES-8 has a resolution of about the DSS systems.
1 to 4 km.
A fire detection system may be one of the
Landsat TM is not really used for fire detection; it is subsystems of a FFDSS.
more used for accurate calculation of the surface As a system itself, it should have enough
burned and estimates of tire intensity.
intelligence to eliminate or reduce drastically false
A small satellite dedicated sensor system for fire alarms under all possible scenarios, without missing
monitoring and investigation from space was designed real fires.
in 1999. Furthermore, it should also provide location of the
The detection is based on hot spots: fire with acceptable accuracy.
- to classify hot spots: forest or vegetation fires, sun This, in combination with the maps of the FFDSS
reflectance and warm clouds, should form the basis for efficient navigation and
- to classify the fire type: flaming fire guidance of the fire tracks and aerial means to the fire.
- to determine fire parameters: geographic position, Furthermore, the data provided by the detection
fire boundaries, time, temperature distribution.
system can form the basis for initial attack response
NOAA A VHRR (dispatching).
Successful dispatching depends greatly of good
Many teams are working on operational systems knowledge of the conditions in the area of the fire and
using NOAA A VHRR data. of the fire characteristics.
The remote sensing workstation for forest fire A detection system that provides such information
detection and monitoring is a Finnish system for which (local people may play this role as well) may be
a prototype software has been developed for automatic extremely helpful for gauging the response.
detection of forest fires using NOAA A VHRR The FFDSS should have the capacity to input and
(Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) data. process such info.
Fire detection is based on channel 3 of A VHRR (3.5
micrometers).

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2.6 FIRE BEHAVIOUR PREDICTION Fire prediction models can be used in different
phases of forest fire management.
Fire behaviour prediction systems exist nowadays
as standalone programs built only for this specific Prevention
purpose or, more often, as part of more complex DSS’s With simple information such as weather (wind)
like for instance the above mentioned pre-suppression regimes, spatial ignition probability, topography and
planning systems or some automatic detection systems land use maps, the managers have the possibility of
which have the capability to simulate fire progression analysing the response of different management
after the detection. scenarios to simulated fire events.
Most simulators offer the possibility of changing land
2.6.1 Functions
use or fuel model maps, allowing managers to compare
Fire behaviour prediction systems can: fire behaviour along different fuels or to compare
- give outputs that describe not only the spatial alternative fuel treatments effectiveness in stopping or
behaviour of forest fires: direction and rate of slowing down forest fires.
spread, but
Suppression
- also quantify and most often display different
Most, if not all, of the suppression DSS’s are based
variables which can be very useful when analysing
on fire behaviour prediction.
fire effects: intensity, flame length, energy release.
Obviously in order to test the effectiveness of the
At this point a distinction should be made between: deployment of fire fighting means these kind of systems
- simple fire behaviour prediction systems, such as must include a set of conditions, from infrastructures to
the “classic” BEHAVE system of the US Forest water sources, from location of Fire Fighters’
Service and headquarters to road network, but, most of all they
- the more modern and powerful fire behaviour must have an indication of what to expect on the
simulation systems such as the FARSITE system of behaviour of a fire event.
the US Forest Service.
Post-suppression
Although both systems are based on the same fire Fire behaviour models are useful tools when trying
spread model, (ROTHERMEL’s (1972) mathematical fire to rebuild the events of a specific forest fire.
spread model) they function quite differently: This proved to be particularly useful in the past
- the former produces fire behaviour predictions when trying to understand the circumstances that lead
related to variables such as fire spread rate, fire line to human incidents when dealing with fire fighting
intensity and flame length, in the form of numbers (VIEGAS DX, 2004; VIEGAS DX et al, 2002).
and (when examining ranges of inputs) tables and DSS’s can be used in this phase for operational
graphs, while training.
- the latter uses terrain and spatial wind and fuel
2.6.2 Performance requirements
distribution information to develop spatial fire spread
simulations. Performance in regard to speed is critical for most
applications of such a system.
Obviously, fire behaviour simulation systems take
Fire behaviour predictions must be produced almost
better advantage of current computer power and spatial
instantly and fire behaviour simulations should be ready
data availability (they were not possible in the 1980s for
in the order of a few minutes in order for decisions to
example) and produce impressive and highly useful
be made in a timely manner.
output, but they are more complex concerning their
This requirement is very important and it is one of
requirements.
the most important factors that has hindered adoption
A major point about them is the algorithm used, in a of new complex fire behaviour models based on
raster domain, to spread fire from one space element fundamental principles and 3D modelling.
(pixel) to the other, with a secondary, but nevertheless
Accuracy of predictions or simulations is also a
important, consideration being that of pixel
major consideration, but what is accurate enough is a
extinguishments after burning (CABALLERO 2001,
matter of interpretation regarding the real world
CABALLERO 2006, FINNEY 1998, MARGARITIS et al. 1994,
application.
VIEGAS 2002).
Furthermore, accuracy should be combined with
Their outcome needs:
robustness, as failures of weaknesses in certain
- even more careful interpretation, concerning
combinations of conditions may be an unacceptably
potential uncertainties and errors,
weak point of such a system.
- than simple systems for predicting fire behaviour.
Hence, both types of systems have potential uses in
the operational world and as training tools.

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2.6.3 Some typical input requirements Recognition of obstacles to fire spread (e.g.
firebreaks, roads, agricultural fields, water bodies, etc.)
Input requirements for all DSS’s regarding Fire
and appropriate handling during the simulation is a
Behaviour Prediction are mainly the three components
major advantage of the output of a simulation system.
of the so called “Fire environment triangle”.
2.6.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations
2.6.3.1 Topography
Fire behaviour models and systems have some
With elements such as slope, aspect, elevation, and
limitations.
configuration.
The variety of physical phenomena that affect fire
Topography doesn’t usually change temporally.
behaviour makes it very difficult to quantify the
2.6.3.2 Fuels individual contribution of each one of them (LOPES et al,
1998).
The fuel layer describes:
- the spatial arrangement of the vegetation: fuel Even if physical models are very accurate, it’s use in
distribution and continuity, as well as real fire situations is largely conditioned by the reliability
- the intrinsic characteristics that allow the process of of the input data, namely fuels (moisture,
fire simulation: fuel loading, fuel bed porosity, fuel characteristics) e weather (wind speed and direction)
sizes, moisture content, and chemical composition. (RIBEIRO, 2004).
The use of some of these parameters implicates the
Fuels are the source of the thermal energy and the use of specific prediction models for it’s calculation,
driving force behind the phenomena of fire behaviour
adding another source of error (LOPES et al, 1998;
(COUNTRYMAN, 1992). FINNEY, 1998).
Fuels have usually a strong temporal variation. Some of the Fire Behaviour prediction systems have
Plants grow continuously and are subjected to different
secondary outputs that can be useful in fire
human or wildlife activities that can change completely management activities.
their growth patterns. For instance, FireStation (LOPES et al, 1998), can
2.6.3.3 Weather produce maps of wind field simulations over complex
topography based on data collected on wind stations or
Mainly wind speed and direction, but also predicted with specific models.
temperature, relative humidity, rain, cloud cover…the These wind data will be used later for fire simulation.
most likely to change of all.
Meteorological conditions can change every second, A major consideration concerning fire behaviour
requiring special attention when simulating in real time. DSSs is how much confidence the user can have on
system predictions and suggestions.
2.6.4 Typical outputs The answer to that is not simple since everything
The outputs of such a system as a rule try to reply to has to do with the intended use.
the two major questions posed by fire-fighters in regard For example, there is no question that fire can
to fire behaviour: exhibit unexpected runs depending on specific
- Where will the fire be at a given point in time? topographic and atmospheric interactions (COHEN
- What will be the characteristics of the fire at a given 2006, VIEGAS 2005).
point? The solution is twofold.
In BEHAVE like fire behaviour prediction systems, On one hand, the user must never fully trust fire
the main outputs are fire spread rate, fire line intensity, behaviour predictions, and should leave ample room for
and flame length. error, especially when lives will be at risk in case of
Heat per unit area, and residence time are also erroneous predictions.
important, especially for fire effects estimation. On the other hand, confidence should be gradually
Many additional variables can also be produced built on new systems by examining their predictions
depending on the scope of the system and the (i.e. the systems should not operate as a “closed box”)
provision of the necessary inputs. and by testing them in real world conditions.
Examples are prediction of crowning, prediction of Part of the reason for the wide use of BEHAVE for
spotting, etc. more than 20 years, is the significant testing and
These are separate models to the ROTHERMEL operational use it has received.
(1972) fire spread model mentioned above. Although not always accurate, its weaknesses are
generally known, and experienced users can interpret
In fire spread simulation systems, all the above the results quite well, thus increasing its usefulness.
variables are desirable (and possible), but the main
output is the evolution of the fire with time, draped over
the landscape.
This allows better visualization for the user, and
more accuracy compared to him drawing lines on a
map based on an average value of rate of spread.

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2.7 OPERATIONAL DISPATCHING AND FIRE This state-of-the-art model will allow for operational
SUPPRESSION and strategic assessments of spatial fire behaviour on
the landscape.
2.7.1 Functions
Uses of this model in fire and forest management
The questions posed by fire managers in this topic, include:
are related to an assessment of resources that must be - predicting the growth of fires that have escaped
devoted to a particular fire or to multiple simultaneous initial attack;
fires. - evaluating the potential threat wildfires could pose to
It must be made clear that officers in charge of fire communities, recreational facilities, forest
fighting should not be expected to plan and conduct management units, and other values-at-risk;
operational fire coordination according to the - evaluating the fire behaviour potential or burn
suggestions of a DSS rather on a on-site assessment probability of landscapes created by different forest
of the conditions and the actual (not-theoretical) management strategies and practices; and
capabilities of his fire fighting resources. - assessing the effectiveness of various forest and fire
The direct use of DSSs for supporting fire fighting management strategies aimed at reducing the threat
operations is quite limited (XANTHOPOULOS 2002). of large fires.
However, a DSS can be very useful in:
Understanding the behaviour, propagation and
- supporting dispatching of resources for initial attack
effects of wildfire is essential to achieving sustainable
(XANTHOPOULOS 1994).
forest management.
- training of fire management officers
Information on this system is available at:
- during fire operations in handling complex situations
http://www.firegrowthmodel.com.
at the level of the coordination centre.
- providing suggestions of possible outcomes of the 2.7.2 Usual functions of a DSS for dispatching
fire fighting efforts. and fire suppression
Furthermore, a complete system in support of fire A DSS of this type necessarily involves expected
fighting operations, should have some capabilities for general fire behaviour assessment (often utilizing fire
supporting the logistics of fire fighting such as keeping danger indices), and/or fire behaviour prediction or
track of fire data, resources, supplies, costs, etc. simulation.
It also possesses a strong capacity of fire fighting
One system that concentrates on the latter is the
effectiveness assessment.
Fire Information Resource System (FIRES) in Canada.
The two are combined to produce estimates of the
FIRES is a single source data entry application that
resources needed to fight a particular fire.
captures much of Forest Protection Division's business
Better systems, aiming to offer advanced support in
data at source.
large coordination centres are generally able to handle
It provides near real time information to staff in order
multiple fires, offering solutions not only regarding the
to enable decision-making processes.
types of resources needed but also which resources
The application standardises the collection and
should be dispatched to each new fire.
entry of data, provides data in a standard format for
This latter capability necessarily involves a strong
decision support applications, tracks fire fighting
database management element that can keep track of
resources, and maintains historical records about fires
the resources available.
and weather.
The FIRES application helps to ensure that sharing Fire fighting itself is just too complex to be neatly
of information and deployment of resources are done modelled in detail with significant confidence in any
efficiently and economically in emergencies that require type of DSS.
immediate response. Neither general rules nor strict numerical models
FIRES communicates with several other systems to would ever be able to:
minimize duplicate entry of data, and to take advantage - replace the capacity of an experienced incident
of the functionality of other systems in managing commander (IC), or
wildfire. - simulate with any realism the chaotic evolution of
fighting a serious fire.
Another Canadian system is Prometheus.
It is the new Canadian Wildland Fire Growth Model A typical fire behaviour prediction or simulation
(CWFGM) currently being developed by an integrated, model, in spite of its potential inaccuracies, offers about
multi-disciplinary team of Canadian researchers and as concrete and usable information as possible to the
managers. IC.
Alberta Forest Protection Division is the lead agency Some rules of thumb, or simple comparisons of
of the team. numbers, to facilitate calculations that otherwise would
be cumbersome, could provide useful support for the
IC.
Examples are travel times of vehicles, visible areas
from a certain point, etc.

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A GIS system as the foundation for such a DSS is a A third, important input, is the actual number of the
must for today’s requirements. resources, their location, their availability (e.g. assigned
It can facilitate decision-making by providing the to a fire or not), the terms for their mobilization
above mentioned functionalities and can also function (especially for private resources), and the associated
as the basis for fire behaviour simulations. cost.
Having said that, although a DSS for fire For all these to be used a fire fighting simulation
suppression cannot provide a full scenario of fighting a scheme of some short is needed.
fire, it can be of significant help in keeping track of the This scheme, depending on the objectives and the
fire by allowing continuous documentation of actions sophistication of the system, may include:
taken, keeping track of resources involved and their - rules of preference of resources according to criteria
location, storing notes, observations and comments, (distance of the fire from their position, type of fire
helping in the production of reports, etc. behaviour expected, resource characteristics, etc.),
- rules of engagement and cooperation of resources,
The modern capability for fleet tracking (in this case
etc. (CABALLERO 2002, XANTHOPOULOS 1994).
fire truck and fire-fighter crew tracking) developed in
the 1990s with the help of GPS technology, is a 2.7.4 Typical outputs
perfectly appropriate addition to such a DSS.
In the case of DSSs for dispatching, typical outputs
Obviously, a DSS that would be devoted to include, first of all, the types and numbers of resources
dispatching would be quite different from one designed to be used for a particular fire.
to be installed on a laptop computer in a command Additionally, the location from which these
vehicle to support an IC. resources should be sent is proposed.
Trying to combine the two would result in Predicted length of time for fire control, often in
unnecessary complexity, given the difference in combination with the resources finally dispatched,
requirements. probability of successful initial attack, warnings for
conditions that may warrant special attention, are
Processing and output production speed is a key
additional very useful outputs.
requirement for this type of DSSs as they are intended
for real-time operations. When emphasis is on fire fighting the outputs may
Their interface should be very carefully designed in have very different content and look, depending on the
order to allow the user (dispatcher, fire behaviour functions of the system, as described above.
analyst or IC) to perform the most commonly needed Fire behaviour prediction is a must but from that
tasks easily and without delays. point on, the degree to which the system will:
- try to provide suggestions: types of resources that
Concerning the use of a DSS by an ICs for fire
can handle particular lengths of the fire perimeter at
fighting support, it should be understood that the
any given time, according to the length of flames,
people in that position may have quite variable levels of
topography, road proximity, etc.. locations with
sophistication in the use of computers and that they
potential for erratic fire behaviour, etc.) or
may have to operate the system without expert help.
- simply function as an MIS, is a matter of
System output should put an emphasis on sophistication and effort devoted to the development
documentation of event analysis and on the evolution of the system.
of incidents.
2.7.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations
Reporting is certainly needed after the event but
may also be very useful if the system can produce (on The main criterion for evaluating a DSS for
simple, portable printers) printed maps and information dispatching is always the degree to which responses
sheets to be handled to officers and other personnel closely matching its suggestions were proven
during briefings. successful and the fires were stooped through initial
attack.
2.7.3 Some typical input requirements
Sending too many fire fighting resources compared
As fire behaviour prediction is at the core of such to the real need is the other side of the coin, and can
systems, the inputs required for this task, as described only be evaluated from focused reports that may be
earlier, are also needed here. filled at the end of the incident.
A second series of inputs has to do with the types of Other criteria include:
fire fighting resources available and their associated - Ease of use
performance characteristics: - Backtracking of decisions
- type of fire they can handle, productivity: fire line - Good documentation of actions and report
production rate of dozers and fire crews, length of production for filing
retardant line produced by aerial drops of a specific - Capability to parameterise inputs or add rules that
type of air tanker, etc. apply under certain conditions
- speed and limitations of movement (e.g. grade),
- refilling and refuelling requirements, shifts, etc.).

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In regard to DSS for fire fighting, accuracy of 2.8 FIRE EFFECTS ASSESSMENT AND
predictions, dependability of suggestions (consistent MITIGATION
quality), useful warnings (watch-out conditions) good
2.8.1 Usual functions
database maintenance, good reporting capabilities are
key elements on which these systems may be The main objective of a DSS of this category is to
evaluated. help post-fire decision-making.
However, the true evaluation, especially for this type Alternatively, emphasis may be given on providing
of DSS usually comes from the user. support for fire management decisions and actions, by
If the confidence of the user is not captured, then analysing potential fire effects in case of a fire and
the system is not successful. suggesting measures to take in order to avoid
undesirable outcomes.
Prescribed burning support is among these actions
(REINHARDT et al. 2001).
Obviously, it makes sense for a system to be flexible
enough in order to support both these objectives.
Systems designed for addressing fire effects
assessment and their mitigation should necessarily
incorporate a large, well organized database that
includes a large part of the outcome of the huge
amount of research devoted to studying fire effects in
the last three decades (ARIANOUTSOU 2006).
Fire effects may refer to effects on:
- flora (BROWN and SMITH 2000),
- fauna (SMITH 2000),
- aquatic ecosystems,
- the air (SANDBERG et al. 2002), and
- the soil (NEARY et al. 2005).
Fire effects databases have been developed in the
USA and have been made available over the Internet.
An example is the Fire Effects Information System
(FEIS) of the US Forest Service, which can be found
online at http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis.
However, before using such a database, care must
always be devoted to identifying which ecosystem the
data are valid for, as there are often significant
differences on fire effects even for the same plant
species over different areas of its distribution.
Utilizing the fire effects database and related
models, a DSS usually predicts the direct
consequences of prescribed fire and wildfire.
It computes, for example, duff and woody fuel
consumption, smoke production, and fire-caused tree
mortality.
Two of the most important problems fire managers
face in regard to post fire actions, have to do
- with determining if natural regeneration is
guaranteed and, if not, where they have to help
through seeding or planting, and what they have to
seed/plant
- with recognizing where heavy soil erosion problems
should be expected, the extent of the problems, the
potential for flooding, and what measures should be
taken to prevent/mitigate these negative effects.
Finally, such a DSS could also provide support in
recognizing problems to the people in the burned area
(financial, social, production, work, etc.) with related
costs.
Such a capacity could help with corresponding
mitigation measures.

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2.8.2 Performance requirements 2.8.4 Typical outputs


Speed of execution is not a problem, as this type of The outputs of such a DSS, spatial or not, are
analyses usually needs to be completed within days or tailored to answer the questions explained in the
weeks. “functions” section above:
Accordingly, hardware requirements are not heavy: - Tree mortality prediction / Burned timber salvage
the heaviest requirements are for the spatial analysis - Soil protection/flood prevention measures
(GIS) system that may be included with the application. - Reforestation / species selection
- Measures for wildlife support
2.8.3 Some typical input requirements
- Measures for human population support
Typical inputs for DSSs that do not have a spatial
In case of use of the DSS for prescribed burning
analysis component include variables for site
support, the emphasis is on development of
description including species and their characteristics
prescriptions for treatment fires, with corresponding
(age, size, cover, etc.), aspect, slope, soils, and
prediction of the fire effects to be expected.
climatology.
With this aid, managers can develop better and
Fire characteristics are a necessary input as well,
safer prescriptions, avoiding the risk of causing
since different (in regard to fire intensity, residence
negative effects.
time, heat per unit area, and season) fires may have
markedly different effects. 2.8.5 Evaluation criteria and considerations
Obviously, when a spatial analysis system is part of In such a system, the emphasis is on providing
such a DSS, the manager is helped much more. answers directly relevant to the questions posed by the
It becomes easier to analyse and plan the measures managers.
to be taken at different locations according to the When there is uncertainty, confidence limits should
spatial variability of the input parameters, and the be provided.
procedure is automated to a large extent. Backtracking of decisions should be possible.
Finally, the user interface must be user friendly, and
the spatial output must be presented in meaningful
blocks of land (not pixelized), according to realistic
criteria.

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3 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

3.1 GENERAL APPROACH 3.2 SATELLITE REMOTE SENSING


In this part of the work, the connecting component is The images provided by satellites for earth
- the technologies commonly found in the tools and observation give to the end users, like Civil Protection,
- systems under consideration Risk Managers, Public Authorities, information to
assess Forest Fire Risk, to manage crises, and to
As a result, the approach followed here is more
estimate damages.
general.
It focuses on the identification of: Various types of remote sensing data that bring
- the main technological components found in fire different spatial and temporal scales of perception can
management tools and systems, and support all of these activities.
- their main characteristics that must be specified in
At the same time, algorithms for fire detection, fire
order to produce more effective systems with a good
propagation monitoring and burned area mapping,
useful life expectancy.
have been developed and continue to evolve in order to
The main technologies and issues to be examined provide the most accurate information for the Decision
here, concerning their characteristics and their use in Makers.
FFDSSs, include:
These remote sensing information and processes
- Automatic fire detection devices
are often integrated into Decision Support Systems.
- Satellite remote sensing
- GIS technologies and systems This chapter aims to present the technologies,
- Database management systems and languages results and perspectives to promote the use of remote
- Programming considerations (including user sensing data in these fields.
interfaces)
- Open versus closed platforms 3.2.1 Currently used technologies
For each remote sensing study, it is important to pay
Each one of these is examined concerning the
breadth of use in fire management systems, for attention to the following parameters:
common applications and conflicts to come to the - Spatial Resolution: dimension of the pixel, from the
kilometre to the centimetre;
surface.
Past and currently used technologies are identified - Temporal Resolution: frequency of the image
and evaluated. acquisition, like day, week or month;
- Spectral Resolution: it is related to the sensor
New technologies replacing or augmenting the older
ones are identified. channels, from the optical ones, like red, infrared
Thus, the stage is prepared for the next step where etc. to the hyper frequencies (radar).
new specifications will be proposed for the future. These parameters are able to characterize fire,
smoke, and burned areas at different scales of
perception and for different topics like fire and smoke
detection, forest fire monitoring and burned area
assessment.
3.2.1.1 Sensors
Two categories of sensors exist:
- passive sensors: they detect the reflectance induced
by the solar energy that light up the objects at the
earth surface; and the spectral values included into
optical and infrared wavelength.
- active sensors, which produce their own energy to
light up the objects at the surface of the earth; the
detected spectral values correspond to the hyper
frequencies (radar) wavelength.
Optical sensors are used when atmospheric
conditions are without clouds.
The accuracy of fire, smoke, and burned area
detection depend on the clearness of the atmosphere.
On the other hand, radar sensors are used for
cloudy conditions because of the capability of hyper
frequencies to cross through the clouds.

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3.2.1.2 Satellites 3.2.1.4 Pixels Classification


The main satellites selected for identifying and To extract the useful information, two pixel
monitoring forest fire, and mapping burned areas are classifications are commonly used.
the followings: - Unsupervised classification: it is an automatic one
- NOAA AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution that consists to let the computer to identify the
Radiometer): developed by the National Oceanic different objects, without the intervention of the
and Atmospheric Administration, this satellite operator’s knowledge; after this classification, the
provides daily images at the spatial scale of 1.1 km, operator has to define the themes that correspond
with five channels (Red, Near Infra Red, Medium to the different classes.
Infrared and two channels in thermal infrared - Supervised classification: it is based upon the field
wavelengths). knowledge of the operator which define some test
- Spot: performed by Spot Image Company, Spot 5 and training parcels (group of pixels) according to
satellite provides images with the multispectral their nature (forest, urban, water, smoke, fire,…)
sensor at the spatial scale of 10 m, 20 m, 5 m and
The algorithm of this last classification procedure
2.5 m (panchromatic), in Red, Blue, Green and
tries to gather, automatically and according to the
Medium Infrared wavelengths.
different classes defined by the operator, the same
- Landsat: Landsat 7 ETM+ (Enhanced Thematic
pixels of each class.
Mapper Plus) provides images at the spatial scale of
This classification take account to the spectral
30 m, with the Red, Near Infrared and Medium
values and, for some new available software, it takes
Infrared wavelengths, and at 60 m of resolution for
into account texture and form of the objects and
the thermal Infrared channels.
phenomena.
- Ikonos: provided by Space Imaging, Ikonos images
have a spatial scale of 4 m in optical and Infrared The most accurate method is the supervised one,
wavelengths. but it takes time, especially for the definition of training
- Envisat: ESA European Space Agency satellite plots.
combines active and passive sensors on a same The unsupervised classification is the fastest one,
plate-form. but the accuracy of the automatic definition of classes
- ERS: ESA satellite produces radar images at the is lower than the supervised one, due to the creation of
spatial scale of 12,5 m for the C band. different classes for the same object or the grouping of
- RadarSat: Canadian satellite RadarSat 2 provides different objects in a same class.
radar images at 6 m resolution.
The time spent for a classification, supervised and
All of these satellites have been used for forest fire unsupervised, depends also on the number of pixels in
detection, mapping and monitoring. an image.
Some of them, like Spot 5 and Ikonos can be Very High Resolution Images like Ikonos or Spot 5
programmed by the end-users, like Civil Protection, in require much time to classify their pixels than NOAA
the way to follow the evolution of a forest fire. ones.
Therefore, in a case of emergency, as it is for Civil
For the detection of forest fire, the NOAA AVHRR
Protection, it is important to be aware to this constraint.
has been used for many projects at different
geographical resolution: European, national and At the end of each classification, a comparison is
regional. realized between the post-crises images and the pre-
crises ones.
3.2.1.3 Pre-processing
This comparison gives the map of the burned areas.
Earth atmosphere contains molecules and particles The extraction and vectorisation of this map bring a
that provoke disturbances (diffusion and absorption of mask that is integrated into a GIS for damage
wavelength) for the reception of reflectances for assessments.
passive sensors.
The combination of different channels is used to
Some algorithm can reduce the influence of the
make vegetation indices, like NDVI.
atmosphere on the spectral values.
The classification of these multi-channel images
Companies that provide remote sensing images,
gives a map of fuel, according to the distinction of
use these pre-processings.
forest and non-forest area.
But, it is usual to find companies and laboratories
The NDVI is correlated with the photosynthetic
that have developed their own and specific pre-
activity of vegetation.
processing in the way to improve the spectral quality of
The comparison between daily, weekly or monthly
these images.
Maximum Value Composite of NDVI images is a tool to
Radar images have also their own problems, identify the effect of drought on vegetation.
especially the backscatter effect that produces a Therefore, it is also possible to map the water stress
speckle. for the vegetation, which is an indicator of forest fires
To reduce this effect, LIEW et al. (1998) propose a risk.
method based upon the of the image in 8 bits, and the Combustible maps represent a way to prevent forest
application of a filter at a lower spatial resolution (4, 5, fires, based upon satellite remote sensing data.
6 etc. pixels).

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3.2.1.5 Ancillary data Among the different ways of success integrating


satellite remote sensing for forest fire problematic, the
Ancillary data bring information on the land use and
international charter “Space and Major Disasters” and
land cover.
the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and
They contribute to the system for assessing
Security) have claimed our attention.
damages of forest fires in the way to assess the mount
of the impact of a forest fire on the socio-economical 3.2.2.1 International Charter “Space and Major
activities. Disasters”
European, national and regional ancillary data can The International Charter aims at providing a unified
be implemented into GIS and DSS for the decision system of space data acquisition and delivery to those
makers. affected by natural or man-made disasters through
The cost of these data is a limiting factor to their authorized users.
obtention, but it possible to contract conventions with Each member agency has committed resources to
data providers and research entities. support the provisions of the Charter and thus is
helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on human
For example, CORINE LandCover database
life and property.
provides information of the land cover at the scale of
Europe. Following the UNISPACE III conference held in
These maps have been implemented into GIS for Vienna, Austria in July 1999, the European and French
damage assessments (SAN MIGUEL-AYANZ, 1998a, space agencies (ESA and CNES) initiated the
1998b), with the overlapping of burned areas masks International Charter "Space and Major Disasters", with
onto CORINE maps. the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signing the Charter
on October 20, 2000.
This method can also be used to provide information
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
for decision-makers before the occurrence of a fire, in
and Indian Space Research Organization became
the way to identify the most vulnerable territories,
members of the Charter in September 2001;
according to the stakes and remote sensing indicators.
- Argentine Space Agency joined in July 2003; Japan
3.2.2 Fields of use, success, problems and Aerospace Exploration Agency became a member
other considerations in February 2005;
- United States Geological Survey joined the Charter
Remote sensing techniques are involved in many as part of the U.S. team.
activities related to the following ones.
The only bodies authorized to request the services
1. Forest Fire Prevention an Anticipation, applying
of the Charter are the authorized users, who have been
risk assessment approaches like combustible mapping, given the single confidential phone number.
drought forecasting etc. and using the so called
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). An authorized user is a civil protection, rescue,
To preserve human lives and to reduce economic defence or security body from the country of a Charter
losses as far as possible, ancillary data like socio- member.
economical ones are integrated into DSS. Those eligible to become members of the Charter
include space agencies and national or international
2. Crisis Response through powerful systems, like space system operators.
DSS in the way to prevent forest fires and/or to
estimate and monitor forest fire progression. agent- Recently, the International Charter has been
based and cellular automata are implemented to activated for the two following events:
simulate the progression of fire.
23/08/2005: Forest fires completely surrounded the
They integrate the remote sensing data, and more
city of Coimbra, about 200 km north of Lisbon,
precisely, the masks created by the supervised
destroying dozens of houses on the outskirts of the city
classifications.
and forcing residents to evacuate the area.
The question of speed of the treatment of the
Portugal requested and received assistance from
information is capital for the end users like Civil
Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Germany
Protection.
(water bombardiers and ground units).
Damage assessment for prevention or The Charter was activated to provide support to the
indemnification is based upon the overlapping of both European fire fighting effort.
socio-economical data and burned area masks, in the
05/07/2005: Forest fires started at the north-eastern
aim to extract the statistics of the impacted stakes.
edge of the Massif des Maures, in the Provence region
Insurance companies and public administrations are
of France, and continued to spread, fanned by strong
increasingly interested on the use of remote sensing
winds.
techniques to estimate, as soon as possible, the costs
of these damages. The results of the satellite remote sensing images
Therefore, remote sensing data provided by analyses (SPOT 5, Ikonos, NOAA AVHRR, Landsat 7
satellites provide information to help politics in the ETM+) have been sent the Portuguese Civil Protection
formalization of their policy of indemnification and to and the French Civil Protection, using FTP technique
plan the land use. for data transfer.

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3.2.2.2 GMES 3.2.2.3 Problems of the use of Satellite Remote


Sensing data
The “Global Monitoring for Environment and
Security” (GMES) represents a concerted effort to bring Despite these successes, some problems and limits
data and information providers together with users, so are presently discussed.
they can better understand each other and make
The first and major problem is related to the
environmental and security-related information
availability of satellite remote sensing images,
available to the people who need it through enhanced
according both to the frequency of image acquisition
or new services.
and atmospheric conditions.
Reviewing the various user needs, it was It is very often necessary to combine different
established that GMES has to support the following EU sources of images (Spot, Ikonos etc.) to try to monitor
objectives and policy domains: Forest Fire Progression.
- Europe's environmental commitments, within The time to make the treatments increases with the
European Union territory and globally, by diversification of images.
contributing to the formulation, implementation and In the same way, the accuracy to detect the burned
verification of the Community environmental area changes from a NOAA image to an Ikonos image.
policies, national regulations and international So, for sub real-time monitoring, it is difficult to have
conventions; the same quality of information in a crises period.
- Other European Union policy areas such as
The second problem is related to the price of data:
agriculture, regional development, fisheries,
archived images are less expensive than programmed
transport, external relations with respect to the
images (from 2 to 5 times!).
integration of the environmental dimension in the
Therefore, it is important to contract convention with
respective domains and their specific requirements;
remote sensing data providers, and especially in the
- Common foreign and security policy, including the
frame of the initiatives like GMES and the International
European security and defence policy;
Charter, in the way to get these images at a very low
- Other policies relevant to European citizens' security
cost.
at Community and national levels, notably the
potential exists for application to policies related to 3.2.3 New alternatives and technologies
Justice and Home Affairs activities of the European
Union, such as border surveillance. The future of satellite remote sensing is the
development of sub-meter sensors.
Specific tools are developed under the GMES In this area of interest, the ORFEO project, between
umbrella to help public authorities to assess risks of France and Italy, will provide both optical and radar
technical and natural hazards like floods and forest images at sub-meter scale.
fires. The agreement was signed between the 2 countries
These tools combine spatial and aerial images, in January 2001; Spain and Sweden are also
in situ measurement and models, which provide interested.
together a portfolio of services:
- Prevention: monitoring of prone areas and risk ORFEO will comprise two components:
assessment; - Optical sensors aboard two Pleiades satellites;
- Radar sensors aboard four Cosmo-Skymed
- Anticipation forecasting: elaboration of warning to
preserve human lives and reduce economic losses satellites.
as far as possible; The next-generation French optical satellites,
- Crisis response: through powerful systems helping Pleïades, are also under development in conjunction
civil security services to anticipate appropriate with Cosmo-Skymed in the Franco-Italian ORFEO dual
decisions and provide better security conditions to programme.
their operating teams during the crisis; The ability to combine information from optical and
- Post crisis: to elaborate a quick damage radar images will provide Europe with a greatly
assessment and collect feedback to train the rescue enhanced intelligence-gathering tool.
teams.
From 2008, the two Pleiades optical satellites will
Among end users of such services one can find: provide imagery covering a smaller area but with a
- Civil Protection Authorities; resolution four times better than SPOT 5.
- Forecasting Organizations;
- Environment Agencies. Together, SPOT 5 and Pleiades will offer a broader
range of complementary data better able to meet the
The policy framework supported by such services diverse requirements of civil users—for example,
are support to European Union Civil protections and cartographers, geophysicists, risk managers and urban
risk management. planners—and military users too.

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The Pleiades optical system will be developed under 3.3 PROGRAMMING CONSIDERATIONS
Centre National des Etudes Spatiales CNES
3.3.1 Fields of use, success, problems and
supervision as part of a joint effort with Italy, alongside
other considerations
the Cosmo-Skymed radar imaging system that will be
under the responsibility of the Italian Space Agency Management decision support through appropriate
ASI. IT-based systems like Management Information
Systems MIS, Decision Support Systems DSS housed
This French-Italian cooperation will bring users a
inside an organisation or provided by extension is
richer variety of large- and small-area optical and radar
established practice.
imagery than ever before, at high and low resolutions.
They involve the collection, selection, processing
The Cosmo-Skymed satellites are intended to and communication of information in one or two-way
provide: communication activities.
- monitoring, surveillance and intelligence data during
Present IT developments add new dimensions to
international crisis for military customers, and
the accessibility and communication of information.
- environmental surveillance of floods, fires,
They focus on comprehensive IT support
landslides, and oil spill as well as
environments that integrate with knowledge networks
- earth topographic mapping, law enforcement for
with local, regional or global knowledge bases.
commercial, civilian institutions and scientific
communities. IT refers to a rapidly expanding range of services,
Each satellite will be equipped with one X-band methods, techniques, applications, equipment, and
multi-polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar SAR that electronic technologies used for the collection,
will provide coverage of areas with a maximum width of manipulation, processing, classification, storage, and
up to 520 km. retrieval of recordable information and knowledge.
The SAR sensor can work in four acquisition modes. At this time, such technologies include, but are not
Using the SPOTLIGHT mode the SAR scans with a limited to:
resolution of one or less than a meter covering an area - computers, personal digital assistants PDAs,
of tens of square kilometres. software, high-capacity storage, networks,
The HIMAGE (strip map) acquisition mode provides telecommunications, databases, data warehouses,
a few meters resolution covering areas featuring a multimedia, and
width of several tens of kilometres. - training, the internet and its world wide web,
The WIDEREGION, also known as ScanSAR, geographic information systems (GIS), computer-
features tens of meters of resolution and swathes areas aided design (CAD), online services, video
of hundreds of kilometres. conferencing, electronic mail, and expert systems:
Finally, the HUGEREGION acquisition mode In short, all technologies related to the acquisition,
swathes up to 520 km wide areas with a resolution of storage, recovery, transfer, manipulation, and delivery
several tens of meters. of data, sound, and graphics, including video.
The first satellite was scheduled to be put into a Any single technology within this almost unlimited
sun-synchronous orbit in early 2005 and the last one variety could be linked to human activities in the forest
(fourth COSMO-SkyMed satellite) was slated for launch fires management sector and might have a profound
in late 2006. effect on them.
3.2.4 Specifications for the future 3.3.2 New alternatives and technologies
The recommendations for the future can be A number of IT development lines that could directly
summarized with the following points: be linked to future developments of the forest fire
- the use of sub-meter sensors in optical and radar management sector are:
wavelength; - Digital integration: eliminates technology breaks
- the development of classification algorithms based - Multi-media interaction: utilizes the full potential of
upon spectral values, texture and form of objects; human perception
- the integration of geo-localized data, spatially socio- - Electronic communication networks: provide
economical ones, in the way to make a better communication infrastructure
damage assessment before and after Forest Fire; - Information Portal technology: provides access
points to digital knowledge spheres
- Virtual platforms for collaboration: facilitates digital
group interaction
- Agent technology: reduces needs for human
intervention (HA forum, 2001)

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3.4 OPEN VERSUS CLOSED PLATFORMS 3.4.1.2 Geo-data standards


3.4.1 Currently used technologies Geo-data interoperability is a technology that will
emerge only with a great deal of harmonization.
3.4.1.1 Software interoperability
Geo-data interoperability requires agreements
The word “interoperability” is increasingly being between senders and receivers of information.
used in information management sector. Where do the needed agreements and the needed
The meaning of “interoperability”, though, remains harmonization come from?
somewhat ambiguous, as do many of the benefits of Harmonisation, agreements, and interoperability are
"being interoperable". all just other names for standards.
Therefore, the following definition of interoperability Components of an information system never work
is suggested. together unless there are standards that enable them to
cooperate.
To be interoperable, one should actively be
engaged in the ongoing process of ensuring that the The need for standards for geo-spatial data is well
systems, procedures and culture of an organisation are known, which is why committees such as the Open
managed in such a way to maximize opportunities for Geo-spatial Consortium, Inc. OGC and the ISO
exchange and re-use of information, whether internally Technical Committee 211 on Geographic Information
or externally. (REED C., OGC) and Geo-matics are developing them.
Geo-spatial data infrastructures such as the CGDI,
The definitions of an “open” framework must be
however, require broader standards, since they
clear and unambiguous. encompass protocols and web services, e.g.
They must define the component interfaces well - HTTP,
enough to ensure that different implementations of the
- Simple Object Access Protocol SOAP,
same components will interoperate. - Web Services Description Language WSDL,
The definitions may leave room for future - Electronic Business using Extensible Markup
expandability and growth, but must require standards Language ebXML;
compliant implementations to be compatible. Information technology committees such as the
While the component boundaries may change over World Wide Web Consortium W3C and Oasis are
time, it is important to clearly define the initial models addressing these comprehensive standards.
and implementations. Because there are so many incompatible standards
Non-exclusive industry consortia and task forces in the geo-information technology area, sharing geo-
(like the OGC, the World Wide Web Consortium W3C, data between geo-processing systems and between
the Open Mobile Alliance OMA, the Internet user communities requires considerable time and
Engineering Task Force IETF, and others) develop expertise.
open standards as interlocking parts of interoperability Most of the standards attempt to normalize one of
frameworks and reference models. the following:
These organisations' framework and reference
- encoding of information in software systems (data
model documents guide developers and integrators in format standards and data transfer standards),
designing customer-specific open architectures, which - naming of features and feature relationships (data
specify the open data models (information schemas)
dictionaries),
and open interfaces, protocols, etc. that will meet the - designing schemas for descriptions of datasets
needs of private enterprises based on their user needs, (metadata).
including business models and work flows. (REICHARDT
M., OGC) The standards are introduced to achieve key
objectives for digital data, by:
In an initiative called Sensor Web Enablement SWE, - making it easier to share digital spatial data between
members of the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
user groups using different hardware and software;
OGC are building a unique and revolutionary - making it easier to integrate digital spatial data by
framework of open standards for exploiting Web- adhering to standards for geo-referencing resource
connected sensors and sensor systems.
inventory data sets; and,
Examples of sensors include: flood gauges, air - providing quantitative and qualitative measures of
pollution monitors, stress gauges on bridges, mobile data quality to ensure data-collection efforts are
heart monitors, Webcams, and satellite-borne earth effective.
imaging devices. (REICHARDT M., OGC) Concerning the fire management and multi-risk
management domain in Europe, there are currently
projects and initiatives for the definition of standards
and specifications related both for data and system
development.
The ESPON, ORCHESTRA, ARMONIA projects
and INSPIRE initiative are some examples. (EU-
MEDIN site, 2005)

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3.4.2 Fields of use, success, problems and The initial implementations will last for at least five
other considerations years.
One of the most fundamental choices for writing In the meantime, a number of initiatives will be taken
software is the language and platform target. to prepare implementation rules for
This choice is often made without a great deal of - metadata for data,
thought and has long-term consequences. - spatial data specifications and harmonization,
- network services and interoperability data and
One choice is to target a closed, proprietary, single-
service sharing,
source platform.
- monitoring and reporting, organizational structures
Examples of this would be using platforms like MS
and co-ordination.
Access, MS SQL Server, COM, MFC, ATL, Dotnet,
etc. INSPIRE Web site and related web site:
http://inspire.jrc.it/home.html
Another choice is to use open tools.
http://www.fig.net/pub/cairo/papers/ts_42/ts42_02_r
Examples would be writing C or C++ code using
yttersgaard.pdf
standard libraries, writing Perl scripts, JavaScript, etc.
3.4.3.2 Operating Systems
Until now the Fire management related information
systems which were developed, are rather “close” Open source software is an emerging type of
because of the tools of development used and the software that may fundamentally affect the business
proprietary format of data included in these. and economic features of the software industry.
Linux, an open source operating system, has been
This situation is changing; the development of
the prominent example of the potential of the open
standards, as well as the availability of cheaper
source movement, competing against Microsoft
technological tools and data has a great influence on
Windows, the incumbent operating system.
the philosophy of the developers and the users.
They are now seeking for more platforms that are Both Windows and Linux are currently gaining
“open and data, which could be used easily by anyone market share at the expense of proprietary Unix
and could be combined together for better operability systems (including the Sun versions of Unix), which
and sharing of work. tend to be closed and expensive running on expensive
hardware.
3.4.3 Specifications for the future
The Linux ecosystem is developing fast in terms of
3.4.3.1 Data Standards in Europe
number, variety and quality of applications and
INSPIRE : INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in availability of support and other complementary
Europe services.
However, it is expected that firms that offer
INSPIRE is an initiative from the European Union to competing proprietary solutions will respond in a variety
establish an infrastructure for spatial information in of ways, including the reduction of prices and higher
Europe that will help to make spatial or geographical investment in their products.
information more accessible and interoperable for a
For example, Microsoft seems committed to reduce
wide range of purposes supporting sustainable the security issues faced by Windows.
development.
Uncertainty about potential litigation risks due to
INSPIRE aims at making available relevant,
unclear property rights and confusing open source
harmonized and quality geographic information for the licenses also hurts Linux.
purpose of formulation, implementation, monitoring and
evaluation of Community policy-making. Most firms are likely to have a mix of Linux and
The environmental sector has a leading role in this Windows infrastructure evolving over time.
initiative, but it is fully aware of the similarities between For example, Linux tends to become dominant in
the different sectors such as agriculture, transportation, Web serving applications, combined with Apache, the
and health. dominant web server application that is open source.
Prominent Internet companies such as Google and
The legislative process is started in the Community
Amazon rely heavily on Linux.
in fall 2004 and the legislation for an European Spatial
There is a need for both empirical and analytical
Information Infrastructure will presumably be in place
work on the conditions under which firms adopt Linux
2006/2007.
and open source, and how this adoption behaviour
After this, the Member States will have two years to
affects the competition between the two ecosystems.
transpose INSPIRE into their national legislation.
(ECONOMIDES et al., 2005)

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3.4.3.3 Open Platform characteristics For example:


- Management: WBEM, SNMP, IPMI, etc.
An Open Framework must leverage or recommend
- Configuration/system modeling: CIM, X.731, etc.
existing hardware and software standards and describe
- I/O standards: PCI, CompactPCI*, H.100/110,
how they are used and integrated into the Open
InfiniBand*, etc.
Framework standards.
- Networking standards: TCP/IP, ATM, T1/E1,
Some may be considered prerequisites and listed as
Sonet/SDH, etc.
requirements.
- Middleware standards: CORBA, etc.
Others may emerge as the framework definition
- De-facto standards for operating system,
evolves.
middleware etc. (HA forum, 2001)

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4 GIS TECHNOLOGIES AND SYSTEMS


In order to get a better equilibrium of this document, a specific chapter is devoted to this item, even if it
obviously belongs to technical specifications

The integration of spatial data (often proprietary to


4.1 CURRENTLY USED TECHNOLOGIES
the GIS software), and tabular data stored in a DBMS
A geographic information system (GIS) is a is a key functionality afforded by GIS.
computer-based tool for mapping and analysing
4.1.1.4 People
geographic phenomena that exist, and events that
occur, on Earth. GIS technology is of limited value without the people
GIS technology integrates common database who manage the system and develop plans for
operations such as query and statistical analysis with applying it to real world problems.
the unique visualization and geographic analysis GIS users range from technical specialists who
benefits offered by maps. design and maintain the system to those who use it to
These abilities distinguish GIS from other help them perform their everyday work.
information systems and make it a very important The identification of GIS specialists versus end
technology and a basic tool for the development of users is often critical to the proper implementation of
Forest fire related DSS. GIS technology.
Map making and geographic analysis are not new in 4.1.2 Methods used by a GIS based DSS
the forest fires related domains, but a GIS performs
A successful forest fire GIS-based DSS operates
these tasks faster and with more sophistication than do
according to a well-designed implementation plan and
traditional manual methods.
rules, which are the models and operating practices
Many people commonly think of a GIS as a single, unique to each forest fire domain and/or related
well defined, integrated computer system. institution.
However, this is not usually the case. The basic generic functions, which a GIS-based
A GIS application can be a complete DSS supports, are listed here below
information/decision support system that can be made
4.1.2.1 Data input
up of a variety of software and hardware tools.
Data can be input to a GIS from various sources eg.
The important factor is the level of integration of
Vector or raster digital maps, images of various
these tools to provide a smoothly operating, fully
formats, text files, RDBMS tables, GPS data etc.
functional geographic data processing environment.
Many GIS applications support digitizing procedures
4.1.1 Components of a GIS-based DSS as well, for the creation of digital layers from existing
conventional maps.
An operational GIS-based DSS has a series of
components that combine to make the system work 4.1.2.2 Data storage
and are critical to a successful Information System. A large amount of spatial data and their related
attributes can be stored in the geographical Data base
4.1.1.1 Hardware
of a GIS.
Hardware is the computer system on which a GIS- This data can be also managed by either the
based DSS operates. internal or an external DBMS.
Today, GIS software runs on a wide range of In fact, most GIS software provides an internal
hardware types, from centralized computer servers to relational data model, as well as support for
desktop computers used in stand-alone or networked commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) relational DBMS'.
configuration. COTS DBMS’ are referred to as external DBMS’.
4.1.1.2 Software 4.1.2.3 Data transformation
Most GIS’s support advanced transformation utilities
GIS software provides functions and tools needed to
for transforming data from one format to another and
store, analyse, and display geographic information. from vector to raster and raster to vector models.
4.1.1.3 Data 4.1.2.4 Data analysis
One very important component of a GIS-based DSS GIS tools can perform a large number of analysis on
is the data. spatial data such as
Geographic data and related tabular data can be: - Measurement (distance, area, perimeter)
- collected in-house, - Query (spatial, attribute)
- compiled to custom specifications and requirements, - Overlay analyses (calculation of new layers)
or - Buffering (inside, outside) etc
- occasionally purchased from a commercial data Some of these analyses, which are commonly,
provider. included in the existing Forest, fire related DSS, are
A GIS can integrate spatial data with other existing described in detail in the next pages of the current
data resources, often stored in a corporate DBMS. report.

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4.1.2.5 Data output Most of this variation relates not so much to the
Outputs from a GIS system include: maps, surface representation of what or when as where.
visualisations, tables, lists, multimedia, animated map Some encoding schemes associate theme and
sequences. location on an atomistic basis.
They refer to elemental pieces or "atoms" of
4.1.3 How to characterize the development and
cartographic space.
use of GIS technology
Other data encoding schemes are more holistic in
One way to characterize the development and use
nature.
of GIS technology within the DSSs is in terms of the
They associate theme and location by way of
three basic components of a GIS.
cartographic "wholes."
Like those of any information-processing system,
Raster (griddled image) and vector (line drawn) data
these include:
structures are representatives of these two schemes,
- Data
with atomic grid cells and holistic sets of points, lines,
- A means of processing those data,
and polygons.
- A mechanism to control that processing and to
present processing results. (ie. User Interface) The distinction is beginning to fade, however, as
raster resolution improves and as the ability to convert
4.1.3.1 Data
from one form to the other becomes routine.
The data that tend to be processed by Forest Fires
4.1.3.2 Data processing
related DSS and tools describe phenomena not only in
terms of “what” and “when”, but mainly “where”. In terms of the ways in which these data are
The magnitude of this component may be measured processed, GIS technology for many years was at a
in units that range from centimetres to thousands of point where data are modelled after traditional
kilometres. techniques.
The ability to transform data from one scale to Though the ability to do more work more rapidly and
another and from one projection system to another is more economically is something we have come to
an important part of the geographic data processing. expect, the new technology was most often used not to
This is not simply a matter of changing the size of a do new and different things but merely to do familiar
particular graphic product, but a matter of moving things better.
accurately between data bases with efficiency and This process, however changed during the last
consistency. years and the GIS became a technology which offers
new methods:
The way in which geographic data are organized in
- for elaborating and analysing geographical data for
a GIS-based DSS can generally be expressed in terms
the creation of a new generation of thematic layers
of the way in which facts pertaining to what (theme),
and synthetic maps, and
when (time), and where (location) are respectively
- for provisioning new services to the fire
either held constant, allowed to vary in a controlled
management sector (e.g. fire danger maps, fire
manner, or measured.
spread simulation etc.).
Most traditional maps record theme as a function of
location at a constant time. Nonetheless, the data-processing capabilities of a
GIS can still be characterized in terms of four major
Data used in GIS-based DSSs have also
types of traditional activity:
traditionally been organized in this manner.
- data preparation,
Recently, however, new organizational schemes
- data interpretation,
have begun to emerge.
- data presentation, and
A number of GIS have moved from location-oriented - programming.
schemes to feature-oriented structures that record
The data preparation capabilities of a GIS are those
location as a function of theme at a constant point in
that provide for the acquisition, encoding, storage, and
time.
routine maintenance of geographic data.
Some systems are also beginning to address the
These may range from field investigations to
temporal dimension of data as more than a constant.
digitising to the reformatting of data.
Thus, the traditional "map" format is becoming just
one of many alternative ways to organize geographic The data interpretation capabilities of a GIS are
data. those that provide for the transformation of data into
information.
The ability to easily reconfigure data and to flexibly
This transformation generally involves a process in
associate any one piece of information with others is
which facts of a general nature and potential utility (i.e.,
coming to be regarded as a standard feature of any
data) are translated into facts of a more specialized
data management system.
nature and actual utility (i.e., information) in answering
The way in which geographic data are actually questions, making decisions, or otherwise solving
represented (stored, manipulated, and displayed) in a problems.
GIS-based DSS may also vary from one system to
another.

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For DSS applications, map reading has been Development work in this area involves concerns
replaced by interactive measurement, queries, and that are common to all types of computing such as:
display functions. - security,
- large-volume data handling,
The interpretative process typically involves both
- multiple and concurrent access to common data
objective measurement and subjective judgment to
bases,
transform facts, relationships, and/or meanings from an
- updating, and data management in general.
implicit to an explicit form.
Interpretation of vegetation types, for example, 4.1.3.3 User Interface
might bring out facts pertaining to ecological
A third and very important component of a GIS-
characteristics.
based operational DSS is its capability for user
Interpretation of a topographic surface might rely on
interaction.
geometric relationships to infer a drainage pattern.
GIS user interfaces become increasingly friendly,
The data presentation capabilities of a GIS-based offering new ways and tools for user interaction,
DSS are those that provide for communication of facts requiring less effort by the user.
to the end-user.
Most of GIS Decision Support Systems have been
This may involve maps, charts, reports, statistics,
developed with high level programming tools, which
animations, and so on.
allowed the customisation of the User Interface
Here, too, recent developments have been
according to the specific user requirements.
remarkable, and most current needs are generally
End-users feel more familiar with this technology
being met.
than in the past since data input and analysis can be
Advances in this area, however, continue to be
performed in a comprehensive and easy way.
made with an increasing emphasis on visualization and
the use of pictures, motion, and whole-environment 4.1.4 Common GIS analyses performed by
simulation. Forest Fire related DSS
Orientation toward data interpretation distinguishes Most GIS's provide the capability to build complex
geographic information systems from other types of models by combining primitive analytical functions.
automated mapping systems. The DSS’s vary as to the complexity provided for
While mapping systems are primarily concerned spatial modelling, and the specific functions that are
with data preparation and presentation, the GIS is more available.
concerned with data interpretation associated with on-
The range of analysis, which can be performed with
the-ground applications.
As the GIS user community has become more and a GIS, is very large.
more sophisticated in its ability to prepare and present Accordingly, this section focuses on providing
its digital data, attention has now begun to focus on information about the use of GIS technology within
data interpretation and the techniques by which spatial Forest Fire related DSSs and an overview of the GIS
functions that are usually performed by these DSS’s for
phenomena can be modelled.
spatial analyses purposes.
Modelling applications may range from pre-
suppression planning to post-fire management. Some of the functions, which are described below,
concern spatial analysis functions, which can be used
One way to characterize their range is to draw a
broad distinction between descriptive and prescriptive in the application development phase of a forest fire,
models. related DSS, on existing digital layers, for the creation
of new layers to be included in the Geographic data
While the former deal with the realm of what is (e.g.,
landscape ecology or economic analysis), the latter base as basic layers, for example:
deal with the various arts that focus on what should be - to create a raster hill shade or topographic layer,
- to reclassify vegetation layers for creating a land-
(e.g. resource management or emergency evacuation
planning). use layer.
While other concern analysis functions, which are
Perhaps the most notable trends are toward performed during the operational use of various
increasing dynamic visualization (i.e., simulated existing DSSs, for example:
movement over time and/or space) and artificial - to perform a propagation algorithm,
intelligence (e.g., natural language interfaces, learning, - to calculate fire danger maps
and a mechanized ability to draw inferences for later
use). 4.1.4.1 Retrieval of Data

The programming capabilities of a GIS are those Retrieval operations occur on both spatial and
that affect the way in which a system is operated in attribute data.
general. Often data is selected by an attribute subset and
viewed graphically.
These are capabilities associated with user
interaction, program execution, error handling, and so Retrieval involves the selective search,
on. manipulation, and output of data without the
requirement to modify the geographic location of the
features involved.

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4.1.4.2 Reclassification of Data 4.1.5 Topological Overlay


Reclassification involves the selection and The capability to overlay multiple data layers in a
presentation of a selected layer of data based on the vertical fashion is the most required and common
classes or values of a specific attribute: e.g. cover technique in geographic data processing.
group. In fact, the use of a topological data structure can be
It involves looking at an attribute, or a series of traced back to the need for overlaying vector data
attributes, for a single data layer and classifying the layers.
data layer based on the range of values of the attribute. With the advent of the concepts of mathematical
Accordingly, features adjacent to one another that topology polygon overlay has become the most popular
have a common value, e.g. cover group, but differ in geo-processing tool, and the basis of any functional
other characteristics, e.g. tree height, species, will be GIS-based DSS.
treated and appear as one class.
Topological overlay is concerned with overlaying
In the raster based GIS, numerical values are often polygon linear, and polygon data in selected
used to indicate classes. combinations, e.g. point in polygon, line in polygon, and
Reclassification is an attribute generalization polygon on polygon are the most common.
technique. Vector and raster based software differ considerably
Typically, this function makes use of polygon in their approach to topological overlay.
patterning techniques such as crosshatching and/or
4.1.5.1 Raster based software
colour shading for graphic representation.
Raster based software is oriented towards
In a vector based GIS, boundaries between
arithmetic overlay operations, e.g. the addition,
polygons of common re-classed values should be
subtraction, division, multiplication of data layers.
dissolved to create a cleaner map of homogeneous
The nature of the one attribute map approach,
continuity.
typical of the raster data model, usually provides a
Raster reclassification intrinsically involves
more flexible and efficient overlay capability.
boundary dissolving.
The raster data model affords a strong numerically
The dissolving of map boundaries based on a
modelling (quantitative analysis) modelling capability.
specific attribute value often results in a new data layer
Most sophisticated spatial modelling is undertaken
being created.
within the raster domain.
This is often done for visual clarity in the creation of
derived maps. 4.1.5.2 Vector based systems
Almost all GIS software provides the capability to
easily dissolve boundaries based on the results of a In vector based systems topological overlay is
reclassification. achieved by the creation of a new topological network
Some systems allow the user to create a new data from two or more existing networks.
layer for the reclassification while others simply This requires the rebuilding of topological tables,
e.g. arc, node, polygon, and therefore can be time
dissolve the boundaries during data output.
consuming and CPU intensive.
One can see how the querying capability of the
DBMS is a necessity in the reclassification process. The result of a topological overlay in the vector
domain is a new topological network that will contain
The ability and process for displaying the results of
reclassification, a map or report, will vary depending on attributes of the original input data layers.
the GIS. In this way, selected queries can then be
undertaken of the original layer, e.g. soils and forest
In some systems, the querying process is
independent from data display functions, while in cover, to determine where specific situations occur, e.g.
others, they are integrated and querying is done in a deciduous forest cover where drainage is poor.
graphics mode. 4.1.5.3 Consistent logic
The exact process for undertaking a reclassification
varies greatly from GIS to GIS. Most GIS software makes use of a consistent logic
Some will store results of the query in query sets for the overlay of multiple data layers.
independent from the DBMS, while others store the The rules of Boolean logic are used to operate on
results in a newly created attribute column in the the attributes and spatial properties of geographic
DBMS. features.
The approach varies drastically depending on the Boolean algebra uses the operators AND, OR,
architecture of the GIS software. XOR, NOT to see whether a particular condition is true
or false.
Boolean logic represents all possible combinations
of spatial interaction between different features.
The implementation of Boolean operators is often
transparent to the user.

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To date the primary analysis technique used in GIS Elevation data usually takes the form of irregular or
applications, vector and raster, is the topological regular spaced points.
overlay of selected data layers. Irregularly space points are stored in a Triangular
Irregular Network (TIN).
Generally, GIS software implements the overlay of
A TIN is a vector topological network of triangular
different vector data layers by combining the spatial
facets generated by joining the irregular points with
and attribute data files of the layers to create a new
straight-line segments.
data layer.
The TIN structure is utilized when irregular data is
Again, different GIS software utilizes varying
available, predominantly in vector-based systems.
approaches for the display and reporting of overlay
TIN is a vector data model for 3-D data.
results.
Some systems require that topological overlay occur An alternative in storing elevation data is the regular
on only two data layers at a time, creating a third layer. point Digital Elevation Model (DEM).
This pair wise approach requires the nesting of The term DEM usually refers to a grid of regularly
multiple overlays to generate a final overlay product, if space elevation points.
more than two data layers are involved. These points are usually stored with a raster data
This can result in numerous intermediate or model.
temporary data layers. Most GIS software offerings provide three
dimensional analysis capabilities in a separate module
Some systems create a complete topological
of the software.
structure at the data verification stage, and the user
Again, they vary considerably with respect to their
merely submits a query string for the combined
functionality and the level of integration between the 3-
topological data.
D module and the other more typical analysis functions.
Other systems allow the user to overlay multiple
data layers at one time. 4.1.6.2 Buffering
Each approach has its drawbacks depending on the Most common neighbourhood function is buffering.
application and the nature of the implementation.
Buffering involves the ability to create distance
Determining the most appropriate method is based
buffers around selected features, be it points, lines, or
on the type of application, practical considerations such
areas.
as data volumes and CPU power, and other
Buffers are created as polygons because they
considerations such personnel and time requirements.
represent an area around a feature.
Overall, the flexibility provided to the operator and
Buffering is also referred to as corridor or zone
the level of performance varies widely among GIS
generation with the raster data model.
software offerings.
Usually, the results of a buffering process are
4.1.6 Neighbourhood Operations
utilized in a topological overlay with another data layer.
Neighbourhood operations evaluate the This would result in a new data layer that only
characteristics of an area surrounding a specific contained the forest cover within the buffer zone.
location. Since all attributes are maintained in the topological
Many GIS-based DSS provide some form of overlay and buffering processes, a map or report could
neighbourhood analysis. then be generated.
A range of different neighbourhood functions exists. Buffering is typically used with point or linear
Below are described the ones that are most features.
commonly used in the Forest Fire related DSSs. The generation of buffers for selected features is
frequently based on a distance from that feature, or on
4.1.6.1 Analysis of topographic Features
a specific attribute of that feature.
The analysis of topographic features, e.g. the relief For example, some features may have a greater
of the landscape, is normally categorized as being a zone of influence due to specific characteristics, e.g. a
neighbourhood operation. primary road would generally have a greater influence
This involves a variety of point interpolation than a gravel road.
techniques including slope and aspect calculations,
Accordingly, different size buffers can be generated
contour generation, and Thiessen polygons.
for features within a data layer based on selected
Interpolation is defined as the method of predicting attribute values or feature types.
unknown values using known values of neighbouring
locations. Interpolation is utilised most often with point
based elevation data.

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4.1.7 Connectivity Analysis 4.2 FIELDS OF USE, SUCCESS, PROBLEMS AND


OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
The distinguishing feature of connectivity operations
is that they use functions that accumulate values over 4.2.1 Historic reminder
an area being traversed.
Before the late 1950’s the analogue map was the
Most often these include the analysis of surfaces
primary device or tool for storing, organizing, and
and networks.
displaying the locations of features on the earth's
Connectivity functions include proximity analysis, surface.
network analysis, spread functions, and three- While geographic representation could certainly be
dimensional surface analysis such as visibility and achieved by means of drawings, text, and numerical
perspective viewing. arrays, the printed map was generally the medium of
This category of analysis techniques is the least choice.
developed in the GIS software.
The evolution of GIS technology suddenly changed
Consequently, there is often a great difference in the
all this in two distinctively different ways.
functionality offered between GIS-based software.
On one hand, cartographers saw computer
Raster based systems often provide the more technology as a means for producing traditional
sophisticated surface analysis capabilities while vector analogue maps.
based systems tend to focus on linear network analysis This was called "automated" (or "computer" or
capabilities. "digital") cartography.
On the other hand, researchers, government
However, this appears to be changing as GIS
administrators, business managers, earth scientists,
software becomes more sophisticated, and multi-
military planners and developers, and others) saw
disciplinary applications require a more comprehensive
computer technology as a tool for providing alternatives
and integrated functionality.
to printed maps.
Some GIS offerings provide both vector and raster
GIS technology would allow them to store, process,
analysis capabilities.
analyse, and display spatially distributed data in various
Only in these systems will one fund a full range of
forms, including but not limited to maps.
connectivity analysis techniques.
Researchers have found that map-derived digital
data in a GIS can improve the accuracy of
interpretation of remotely sensed data while remotely
sensed data provides the ability to update map
products in a more expeditious manner.
The data produced by all these systems have a
spatially referenced component.
Nowadays, there is a huge number of digital spatial
data sets which have been developed by institutions,
private companies or army services.
These data sets are produced in various scales and
characterized by various accuracy values.
Several organizations and institutions in Europe and
USA have also defined accuracy and precision
standards for the production of spatial digital data.
Thus, although not a single international set of
standards exists yet, some basic guidelines are
available for the creation of reliable data sets and for
the avoidance of gross errors in geographical data
production.
In many cases data sets for GIS are initially
generated from existing maps, but given the relative
ease with which all digital data (if it is coordinate-
based) can be combined, data sets can now be
assembled from many diverse sources, including:
- Aerial photography,
- global positioning systems,
- electronic imaging (often from a remote sensing
platform),
- newly created maps

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To anticipate the future nature and use of Positional accuracy


geographic data, it is important to understand the
It is the expected deviance in the geographic
means by which this data is produced and processed.
location of an object from its true ground position.
Trends on the production and use of digital maps
This is what we commonly think of when the term
are affected mainly by the following factors.
accuracy is discussed.
The new generation GIS packages and functionality
There are two components to positional accuracy:
allow more and more complicate and sophisticated
- absolute accuracy concerns the accuracy of data
analysis of spatial data.
elements with respect to a coordinate scheme, e.g.
New thematic layers are required as inputs and new
UTM.
thematic maps derive as outputs.
- relative accuracy concerns the positioning of map
Growing dependency on geographic information features relative to one another.
system (GIS) technology and the evolution of
For most Forest Fire related applications, relative
positioning technologies (GPS, EGNOS/GALILEO,
accuracy is of greater concern than absolute accuracy.
DGPS) has generated reasonable concern about the
accuracy and precision of geo-spatial data. However, for applications related to precise
positioning (e.g. positioning and monitoring of fire
Very high-resolution satellite imagery (ie. IKONOS,
suppression means using a GPS) absolute accuracy is
QBIRD) provide a powerful alternative for the creation
very essential.
of large-scale thematic layers, which require less effort
in time-consuming and costly field surveys. Attribute accuracy
4.2.2 Data Accuracy and Quality It is equally as important as positional accuracy.
The quality of data sources for GIS processing is One of the major problems currently existing within
becoming an ever-increasing concern among GIS GIS is the aura of accuracy surrounding digital
application specialists. geographic data.
With the influx of GIS software on the commercial Often hardcopy map sources include a map
market and the accelerating application of GIS reliability rating or confidence rating in the map legend.
technology to problem solving and decision making This rating helps the user in determining the fitness
roles, the quality and reliability of GIS products is for use for the map.
coming under closer scrutiny. However, rarely is this information encoded in the
Much concern has been raised as to the relative digital conversion process.
error that may be inherent in GIS processing
Often because GIS data is in digital form and can be
methodologies.
While research is ongoing, and no finite standards presented using various zoom factors (usually higher
have yet been adopted in the commercial GIS than those of the initial source), it is considered to be
marketplace, several practical recommendations have totally accurate.
been identified which help to locate possible error In reality, a buffer exists around each feature, which
represents the actual positional location of the feature.
sources, and define the quality of data.
For example, data captured at the 1:20,000 scale
Successful and operative use of Forest Fire related commonly has a positional accuracy of +/- 20 m.
applications depends to great extend on the geographic
This means the actual location of features may vary
data quality and in particular on absolute and relative
accuracy of data as defined below. 20 m in either direction from the identified position of
the feature on the map.
The following review of data quality focuses on three Considering that the use of GIS commonly involves
distinct components, data accuracy, quality, and error. the integration of several data sets, usually at different
scales and quality, one can easily see how errors can
4.2.2.1 Accuracy
be propagated during processing.
The fundamental issue with respect to data is
accuracy.
Accuracy is the closeness of results of observations
to the true values or values accepted as being true.
This implies that observations of most spatial
phenomena are usually only considered to estimates of
the true value.
The difference between observed and true (or
accepted as being true) values indicates the accuracy
of the observations.
Basically two types of accuracy exist: positional and
attribute accuracy.

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4.2.2.2 Data quality 4.3 NEW ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES


Quality can simply be defined as the fitness for use The field of digital geographic data processing is
for a specific data set. now over two decades old.
Data that is appropriate for use with one application Over the past several years, it has grown
may not be fit for use with another. dramatically, not only in terms of the numbers of
It is fully dependant on the scale, accuracy, and individuals involved and in terms of the variety of
extent of the data set, as well as the quality of other applications addressed, but also in terms of the
data sets to be used. sophistication of the applications addressed.
Two sources of error, inherent and operational, The field has not reached its maturity; it is yet in a
contribute to the reduction in quality of the products that developing stage.
are generated by geographic information systems. New capabilities are discovered, more attention is
Inherent error is the error present in source being paint in this technology and heightened
documents and data. expectations can be faced.
Operational error is the amount of error produced
4.3.1 Web-based GIS
through the data capture and manipulation functions of
a GIS. Internet is revolutionising the way we do business
by delivering compelling technologies that answer real
Possible sources of operational errors include:
needs.
- mislabelling of areas on thematic maps;
Over the last one-decade business models have
- misplacement of horizontal (positional) boundaries;
changed with the influence of Internet/Intranet.
- human error in digitising
- classification error;. Clearly, the GIS industry also recognized this
- GIS algorithm inaccuracies; and revolution and is now actively involved in its design.
- human bias. For a technology like GIS which requires multi-
disciplinary expertise a distributed model like the
While error will always exist in any scientific
internet are the ideal tools for providing end-user
process, the aim within GIS processing should be to
specific application without having to have a data set
identify existing error in data sources and minimize the
on the client machine.
amount of error added during processing.
Because of cost constraints it is often more The geographic data, which is so scare and
appropriate to manage error than attempt to eliminate expansive, can be shared across different users to
it. arrive at many business goals.
There is a trade-off between reducing the level of Efforts are made to:
error in a database and the cost to create and maintain - simplify the implementation and
the database. - provide useful tools for carrying out mission critical
application.
An awareness of the error status of different data
sets will allow us to make a subjective statement on the These efforts will support applications for:
quality and reliability of a product derived from GIS - reducing operating expenses,
processing. - increasing productivity and
- dramatically improving customer satisfaction and
retention.
GIS professionals worldwide are becoming
increasingly aware of Web-based solutions for GIS.
Clearly, the GIS industry has recognized this
revolution and is actively involved in its design, despite
the added complexity introduced by managing spatial
database; databases that are both delicate and, by any
definition, massive.
This effort is characterized in part by the Open GIS
Consortium's Web Mapping Test Bed.
The reward for these efforts is expected to be a
well-designed architecture that delivers efficient and
powerful usage of computing infrastructures. (JERE A.)

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4.3.2 Distributed Systems 4.4 SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE


While no computing environment has been entirely 4.4.1 Computing field
eliminated (mainframe and workstation computing is
Much of the recent advancement in the field of
still active), the industry has seen the introduction and
geographic data processing can be attributed to more
rapid adoption of desktop and now distributed models.
general trends in the broader field of computing.
Distributed computing is a generic term that includes
As we move from the processing of numbers to
other terms like Internet, Intranet, Extranet, the Web,
words and to pictures (such as maps), certain patterns
net-work-centric, and more.
in this evolution are perceptible; perhaps most notably
Regardless of the terminology, the growing trend is a shift from highly centralized computing to more
to distribute computing services across a physical decentralized but still highly integrated networks.
infrastructure of networked data storage devices and
The general trend of GIS development seems to
computer processors.
indicate that it will continue to become:
The newer environment includes both two and three
- easier to use
tier model where the physical locations of the data
- more intuitive
storage and application processing are not on the same
- more analytic
machine (or in the same country) as each other or the
- more embedded within a variety of technologies
client interface.
This migration from a workstation or desktop's one- While the de facto operating system standard has
tier solution to a component and transaction-based been UNIX in the past, the Windows NT/2000/XP
model is reshaping the future of GIS. (JERE A.) operating system is emerging as a serious and robust
alternative.
A distributed system for multi-risk management is
being developed currently in the context of MEDIGRID Thus, standard office computing environment within
EU project. an organization can be integrated with the GIS
The under development MEDIGRID system is a environment of a sophisticated DSS without major
European Computational and Data Management Grid technical and financial difficulties.
for Supporting Risk Management of Natural Disasters.
MEDIGRID aims to provide a modern multi-risk This trend is closely associated with the
development of 32-bit microcomputers;
assessment platform for sharing distributed data and
using risk assessment models. SQL (Standard Query Language) has become the
The project will encourage developing distributed standard interface for all relational DBMS;
and modular applications that can run over the Internet, The ability to customize user interfaces and
based on Web Services, for supporting the prevention functionality through Application Programming
of natural disasters. Interfaces (API) and macro languages.
Forest fires, floods, soil erosion and landslides are
the addressed risks. Thus, the major development in GIS technology
over the past five years has been
- the ability to customize the GIS for specific
analytical and user-interface related needs,
- the development of GIS modules for mobile devices
is also quite new; a few number of GIS packages
have already included software modules for mobile
devices running under Windows CE and other
analogous operating systems,
- the development of the WEB-based functionality of
the GISs.

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4.4.2 Interesting functions These techniques are primarily concerned with the
proximity of one feature to another.
In combination with the above developments and
Usually proximity is defined as the ability to identify
trends in the GIS technology some GIS functions which
any feature that is near any other feature based on
where not widely used and exploited for analytical
location, attribute value, or a specific distance.
purposes within forest fire related DSSs, can now been
A simple example is identifying all the forest stands
tested, used and incorporated in future DSS in order to
that are within 100 m of a gravel road, but not
provide valuable tools for analyses in specific fire
necessarily adjacent to it.
related fields.
Proximity analysis can be performed in order to
GIS functions that are considered as interesting to
consider areas of influence, and ownership queries.
be used together with the classical ones for the future
Proximity to roads and fire infrastructure is typically
development of more sophisticated DSSs, in addition
important for pre-suppression planning as well.
with the classically used ones, are the following:
4.4.2.3 3D analysis & visualization
4.4.2.1 Network analysis
As technology advances, modern GIS packages
Network analysis is a widely used analysis
provide powerful tools and modules for 3D modelling
technique in several GIS based applications but have
which can be used to create lifelike models of areas of
not been often used until now in the Forest Fire related
interest.
Information Systems and tools.
3D functionality of GIS provide methods for:
Network analysis techniques can be characterized
- viewing multiple layers of 3D data
by their use of feature networks.
- visualising data - Allows the users to overlay images
Feature networks are almost entirely comprised of
or vector data over surfaces (ie DEMs) and extrude
linear features.
(the use of ‘z’ values to give 2D objects height or
Hydrographic hierarchies and transportation
depth) vector features from a surface to create lines,
networks are prime examples.
walls, and solids.
Two examples of network analysis techniques are:
- creating surfaces - the user can interpolate raster
- the allocation of values to selected features within
surfaces and create or add features to TIN surfaces.
the network to determine capacity zones, and
- analysing surfaces – allows the users to interactively
- the determination of shortest path between
query the values in a raster surface and the
connected points or nodes within the network based
elevation, slope, and aspect of TINs.
on attribute values.
In the WUI areas where natural vegetation intermix
This is often referred to as route optimisation.
with houses, 3D visualization of the area can be proved
Attribute values may be as simple as minimal
a valuable tool which helps gain a better understanding
distance or more complex involving a model using
of how the various spatial elements (trees, houses,
several attributes defining rate of flow, impedance, and
roads) are arranged and interact to each other.
cost.
The 3D resultant maps optimise the ability to view
Network analyses can be used in the forest fire
the proximity between elements (eg buildings and
management and more specifically on the Wildland-
vegetation), not just the distance between the two
Urban Interface management domain for providing
objects, as 2D maps.
solutions on emergency evacuation planning,
The resultant scenes have the potential to give an
landscape planning etc.
insight into the interaction between these bodies during
4.4.2.2 Proximity analysis a fire event.
Proximity analysis functions consist of a group of Such applications have the future potential for the
functions, which belong to the Connectivity Functions creation of visual simulation modelling for fire events as
that where described in more detail above in this report. well.
Further development has the potential to lead to a
Proximity analysis techniques were not often used in model landscape with accurate vegetation for building
the existing forest fire related DSSs but can be proved proportions plus wind and vegetation combustibility
valuable in the future development of DSSs, which will
parameters, thus creating a practical visual aid to fire
incorporate a wide range of analytical capabilities in prevention for example in an urban/rural-wildland
specific domains that were not considered until now as intermix environment (VARELA et al.2004)
part of a DSS. (eg WUI management, post-fire
restoration etc.

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5 BIBLIOGRAPHY

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BROWN JK; SMITH JK, EDS. 2000. Wildland fire in
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MARTELL DL, D BOYCHUK, JI MACLELLAN, SMITH JK, ED. 2000. Wildland fire in ecosystems:
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rot_env.htm#No1.
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REINHARDT ED, KEANE RE, BROWN JK. 1997. First
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RIBEIRO L. 2004. FireStation test specifications for 2004 Control”. December 6-8, 2001. Chania, Crete,
fire season (in Portuguese). COTEC Project. Greece. G XANTHOPOULOS, editor. Mediterranean
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SANDBERG DV; OTTMAR RD; PETERSON JL; CORE J.
2002. Wildland fire on ecosystems: effects of fire on XANTHOPOULOS G, V VARELA, P FERNANDES, L RIBEIRO,
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Rocky Mountain Research Station. 79 p. EUFIRELAB project. 42 p. (available at
www.eufirelab.org)

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6 DATA SETS FOR TESTING DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS (DSS) AND TOOLS : “TEST BEDS”

The meaning of “test beds” was defined as “data Data set short titles:
sets on which existing or future DSS and tools can be - Temperature profiles over experimental fires in a wind
tested”. tunnel
The data sets documented in the following pages: - Early fire alarms for dispatching
- were provided voluntarily by the organizations - Small scale laboratory propagating fires
participating in the EUFIRELAB project, on a - Sub-models for heat transfer and pressure drop inside
standardized form, and pine needles fuel beds
- are intended to help future developers of DSS - Fire spread characteristics and parameters– Mt.
systems to test parts of their systems for which Mainalon, August 2000
these datasets are appropriate. - Fire spread characteristics and parameters– Mt.
Penteli 1995
Accordingly, the data set documentation forms
- Digital maps of burned areas from selected study sites
provide this type of information. When in doubt,
within the Euromediterranean Region
interested scientists may contact the persons who
- Data set short title: Human wildfire risk estimation
own the data set since this information is provided.
maps at regional scale using anthropogenic variables

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6.1 TEMPERATURE PROFILES OVER EXPERIMENTAL FIRES IN A WIND TUNNEL

Contact information for data set owner:


Contact Person: Dr. Gavriil Xanthopoulos
National Agricultural Research Foundation
Organization: Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems and Forest Products
Technology
Address: Terma Alkmanos, 11528, Athens, Greece
Phone: ++30 210 7793142
Fax: ++30 210 7784602
E-mail address: gxnrtc@fria.gr

Dr. Gavriil Xanthopoulos


Contributor of information (Name and National Agricultural Research Foundation
organization): Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems and Forest Products
Technology
E-mail address: gxnrtc@fria.gr
Records and analysis of temperature profiles above experimental
Short description of data set (up to 50 fires in forest fuel beds in a wind tunnel, monitored at 4 different
words): heights (50-170 cm) with type K thermocouples having a 0.127 mm
diameter.
Country: U.S.A.
Area (city or location): Missoula, Montana
Date/Time period of the data: 1987-1989
Keywords (5 max): Temperature profile, forest fire, crown fire

Category of DSS for which the data set is appropriate (please check using 2):

Presuppression planning Forest fire risk assessment


Fire danger assessment Fire detection
Operational fire suppression
Fire behaviour prediction X
(including dispatching)
Other (explain)
Fire effects assessment and mitigation ___________________________

Data set availability (please check using 2):


Published in a scientific journal or
Public domain / Internet
stand-alone publication

Published in an (accessible) report Private (needs contact with owner) X

Other (explain)
Private (available at some cost) ___________________________

Personal support availability for using the data set. (please


Yes X No
check using 2):

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Type of data (please check using 2):


Alphanumeric (text, spreadsheet) X Database format
Spatial database (GIS)
Image (ex: photo from fire detection system)
Documentation level (please check using 2):
No documentation Basic documentation X
Good documentation Excellent documentation

Extended data set description (including relevant information such as history of data set, project for which it was
created, original objective, when and how it was created, data description (variables, sample size, format,
limitations), previous uses of the data, publication citation, etc.) (maximum 1000 words):

This data set was created through a series of experimental burns in the wind tunnel of the Forest Fire Laboratory of
the USDA Forest Service in Missoula, Montana. These experiments were part of the Ph.D. study of Dr. G.
Xanthopoulos, and are documented in his Ph.D. dissertation:
Xanthopoulos, G. 1990. Development of a wildland crown fire initiation model. Ph.D. Dissertation. Univ. of
Montana, MT, USA. 152 p.
The experiments and the resulting wildland crown fire initiation model are also described briefly in:
Xanthopoulos, G., and R. H. Wakimoto. 1991. Development of a wildland crown fire initiation model. pp. 281-
287. In proceedings of the 11th Conference on Fire and Forest Meteorology, April 16-19, 1991,
Missoula, Montana. Andrews, P.L., and D. F. Potts, editors. Society of American Foresters, Bethesda, MD,
USA. 616 p.
The work was carried out in the 1988-1989 period. The data set consists of 1032 temperature traces obtained
during 65 experimental burns by thermocouples positioned at four different heights above the top of the fuel (50,
90, 130, 170 cm). The thermocouples were type K (chromel-alumel) with a diameter of 0.127 mm (0.005”). The
sampling frequency was 2 temperature measurements per second. The fuels used were ponderosa pine (Pinus
ponderosa) needles, western white pine (Pinus monticola) needles, excelsior (Populus spp.) shavings and square
wooden (ponderosa pine) sticks in three different sizes: 0.3175 cm (1/8-inch), 0.6350 cm (1/4-inch) and 1.270 cm
(1/2-inch).
A table with summary descriptions of all the burns (fuel type, fuel bed depth, fuel moisture, wind speed) is included
in the dissertation. A file in ASCII or EXCEL format (available upon request) includes the fuel and environment
variables for each burn, fire behaviour observations, estimates for the burns based on BEHAVE system
calculations, and temperature data for the burn (maximum temperature reached, as well as time above which the
temperature remained for a specified length of time, where time ranges from 0.5 s to 40 s). Furthermore, the
original thermocouple traces may become available upon request.

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6.2 EARLY FIRE ALARMS FOR DISPATCHING

Contact information for data set owner:


Contact Person: Dr. Frederique Giroud
Organization: CEREN
Domaine de Valabre
Address:
13120 Gardanne, France
Phone: +33-4-4260_8690
Fax:
E-mail address: f.giroud@wanadoo.fr

Dr. Begona C. Arrue, Dr. Aníbal Ollero, Dr. J. Ramiro Martinez de Dios.
Grupo de Robótica, Visión y Control.
Contributor of information (Name Dpto. Ingeniería de Sistemas y Automática.
and organization): Escuela Superior de Ingenieros
Universidad de Sevilla (EUFIRELAB partner P007)
E-mail address: barrue@cartuja.us.es, aollero@cartuja.us.es, jdedios@cartuja.us.es
Records of newly detected fires, with associated information (visual fire
images, meteorological conditions, characteristics of the terrain, etc.) with
Short description of data set (up to
associated expert assessment of fire danger index (fire potential) for each
50 words):
case. Developed for testing software tool for the deployment of the
appropriate fire fighting means for the initial attack.
Country: France
Area (city or location): Marseille
Date/Time period of the data: Summer 2004
Keywords (5 max): Fire detection, dispatching

Category of DSS for which the data set is appropriate (please check using 2):

Presuppression planning Forest fire risk assessment


Fire danger assessment Fire detection
Operational fire suppression
Fire behaviour prediction X
(including dispatching)
Other (explain) ___________________
Fire effects assessment and mitigation

Data set availability (please check using 2):


Published in a scientific journal or
Public domain / Internet
stand-alone publication

Published in an (accessible) report Private (needs contact with owner) X

Other (explain) ____________


Private (available at some cost)

Personal support availability for using the data set. (please


Yes No
check using 2):

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EUFIRELAB

Type of data (please check using 2):


Alphanumeric (text, spreadsheet) X Database format
Spatial database (GIS)
Image (ex: photo from fire detection system) X
Documentation level (please check using 2):
No documentation Basic documentation
Good documentation Excellent documentation

Extended data set description (including relevant information such as history of data set, project for which it was
created, original objective, when and how it was created, data description (variables, sample size, format,
limitations), previous uses of the data, publication citation, etc.) (maximum 1000 words):

This data set was developed in the frame of the SPREAD (Forest fire spread prevention and mitigation) project
(2002-2005) that was funded by the European Commission, V Framework Programme, Energy, Environment and
Sustainable Development, Contract Nº EVG1-CT-2001-00043.
The team of the Universidad de Sevilla (EUFIRELAB Partner P007) developed, in the frame of SPREAD, a
software tool based on data set provided by CEREN, France, (EUFIRELAB Partner P017) that computes a danger
index in support of initial attack.
This system receives as inputs information such as the visual image of the fire, meteorological conditions and
characteristics of the terrain were the fire was detected. The system was trained with data from real fires and was
validated with real fires.
The fuzzy systems of the /IAFS/ were evaluated with real early fire alarms provided by CEREN. The following
information was available for each alarm: hour, date and watchtower of the detection, visual images of the smoke
plume, estimations of smoke colour and speed of development, type of vegetation of the area and its accessibility
and other data. By means of images and the data, CEREN’s fire fighting experts provided a value of fire danger
index for each case.
The system receives as inputs information of visual fire images, meteorological conditions and characteristics of
the terrain were the fire was detected. The output (assessment) is provided by CEREN’s fire fighting experts. The
potential danger is used for the deployment of the appropriate fire fighting means for the initial attack. The sets of
alarms (inputs & outputs) constitute the “test bed”, the data set described here, and was provided by CEREN.
The number of cases in the data set reaches 30. The data set can be obtained from the team of CEREN who are
the owners of the data.
Furthermore, the team of the Universidad de Sevilla has visual images as sets of inputs and information about
them (rate of spread, flame geometry, smoke column, etc), and terrain information (GESTOSA Experiments in
Portugal), but they do not have associated danger assessments (output) that, in the original data set, were
provided by CEREN’s fire fighting experts.

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6.3 SMALL SCALE LABORATORY PROPAGATING FIRES

Contact information for data set owner:


Contact Person: Prof. José Miguel C Mendes-Lopes
Instituto Superior Técnico
Organization:
Mechanical Engineering Department
Av. Rovisco Pais
Address: P-1049-001 LISBOA
PORTUGAL
Phone: + 351 218 417 364
Fax: + 351 218 417 365
E-mail address: mendeslopes@ist.utl.pt

Prof. José Miguel C Mendes-Lopes, Prof. João M P Ventura


Contributor of information (Name and Instituto Superior Técnico
organization): Mechanical Engineering Department
mendeslopes@ist.utl.pt
E-mail address:
ventura@ist.utl.pt

Short description of data set (up to 50 Records and analysis of temperature profiles and flame
words): characteristics of propagating flames in forest fuel beds

Country: Portugal
Area (city or location): Lisbon
Date/Time period of the data: 1992 - 2006
Forest fuel bed flame propagation
Keywords (5 max):
Geometric flame characteristics

Category of DSS for which the data set is appropriate (please check using 2):

Presuppression planning Forest fire risk assessment


Fire danger assessment Fire detection
Operational fire suppression
Fire behaviour prediction X
(including dispatching)
Other (explain)
Fire effects assessment and mitigation ___________________________

Data set availability (please check using 2):


Published in a scientific journal or
Public domain / Internet X
stand-alone publication

Published in an (accessible) report Private (needs contact with owner) X

Other (explain)
Private (available at some cost) ___________________________

Personal support availability for using the data set. (please


Yes No
check using 2):

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EUFIRELAB

Type of data (please check using 2):


Alphanumeric (text, spreadsheet) X Database format
Spatial database (GIS)
Image (ex: photo from fire detection system) X
Documentation level (please check using 2):
No documentation Basic documentation
Good documentation Excellent documentation

Extended data set description (including relevant information such as history of data set, project for which it was
created, original objective, when and how it was created, data description (variables, sample size, format,
limitations), previous uses of the data, publication citation, etc.) (maximum 1000 words):

This data set was developed in the frame of EU supported projects, mainly: EFAISTOS ENV4 CT96 0299 (1996-
99), Fire Star EVG1-CT-2001-00041 (2002-2004), and EUFIRELAB EVR1-CT-2002-40028 (2003 2006).

An extensive set of experiments was carried out in order to collect data to validate fire propagation models being
developed in the context of European research projects. The experiments were performed in a dedicated wind
tunnel with a burning tray (2.0mx0.70m working section), where wind velocity, fuel moisture content and slope were
varied to study fire propagation in beds of Pinus pinaster needles.

All the runs were videotaped and, from the recordings, information on flame geometry (i.e. flame height, flame
length and flame angle) and rate of spread was obtained. Temperature measurements were also carried out by a
small tower of 6 thermocouples at different heights above the fuel bed. Correlations between temperature and
other indicators of fire behaviour (namely the rate of spread) are presented. Results are discussed and compared.

Similar but less extensive experiments were also carried out in beds of Pinus halepensis. A qualitative analysis is
presented, and quantitative results are compared with those for Pinus pinaster.

The results obtained provide a good database for the assessment of fire propagation models.

The results for Pinus pinaster can be found in:

MENDES-LOPES J M C, VENTURA J M P, and AMARAL J M P: “Flame characteristics, temperature-time curves, and


rate of spread in fires propagating in a bed of Pinus pinaster needles”, Int. J. Wildland Fire, Vol. 12, N. 1, pp.
67 84, 2003

Results for Pinus halepensis can be found in:

MENDES-LOPES J M C, and VENTURA J M P: “Flame characteristics in fires propagating in beds of Pinus halepensis
needles”, 5th Int. Conf. Forest Fire Research, Figueira da Foz, Coimbra, 27-30 November 2006

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EUFIRELAB

6.4 SUB-MODELS FOR HEAT TRANSFER AND PRESSURE DROP INSIDE PINE NEEDLES FUEL BEDS

Contact information for data set owner:


Prof. João M P Ventura
Contact Person:
Instituto Superior Técnico
Organization: Mechanical Engineering Department
Av. Rovisco Pais
Address: P-1049-001 LISBOA
PORTUGAL
+ 351 218 417 400
Phone:
+ 351 218 417 398
Fax:
ventura@ist.utl.pt
E-mail address:

Prof. João M P Ventura, and Prof. José Miguel C Mendes-Lopes


Contributor of information (Name and Instituto Superior Técnico
organization): Mechanical Engineering Department
ventura@ist.utl.pt
E-mail address:
mendeslopes@ist.utl.pt
Records and analysis of local heat transfer and pressure drop inside
Short description of data set (up to 50
pine needles fuel beds. Derivation of semi-empirical laws that
words):
characterize these phenomena.
Country: Portugal
Area (city or location): Lisbon
Date/Time period of the data: 2002 - 2006
Heat transfer inside fuel beds
Keywords (5 max):
Pressure drop inside fuel beds

Category of DSS for which the data set is appropriate (please check using 2):

Presuppression planning Forest fire risk assessment


Fire danger assessment Fire detection
Operational fire suppression
Fire behaviour prediction X
(including dispatching)
Other (explain)
Fire effects assessment and mitigation ___________________________

Data set availability (please check using 2):


Published in a scientific journal or
Public domain / Internet X
stand-alone publication

Published in an (accessible) report Private (needs contact with owner) X

Other (explain)
Private (available at some cost) ___________________________

Personal support availability for using the data set. (please


Yes No
check using 2):

D-06-05.doc 45
EUFIRELAB

Type of data (please check using 2):


Alphanumeric (text, spreadsheet) X Database format
Spatial database (GIS)
Image (ex: photo from fire detection system) X
Documentation level (please check using 2):
No documentation Basic documentation
Good documentation Excellent documentation

Extended data set description (including relevant information such as history of data set, project for which it
was created, original objective, when and how it was created, data description (variables, sample size, format,
limitations), previous uses of the data, publication citation, etc.) (maximum 1000 words):

This data set was developed in the frame of EU supported projects, mainly: Fire Star EVG1-CT-2001-00041
(2002-2004) and EUFIRELAB EVR1-CT-2002-40028 (2003-2006).

The fuel bed is a porous medium where a flow of gas is established during the fire propagation. Therefore, there
is a pressure drop inside the fuel bed. The temperatures of the gas and of the fuel bed are not the same,
especially in the vicinity of the flame. Therefore, heat transfer occurs. These flow restriction and exchange of
energy play an important role in the supply of air to the reaction zone, in the heating (or cooling) of the fuel bed,
in the decrease of fuel moisture content and in its pyrolysis.

Modelling of the flame front propagation, energy release, temperature reached, and other parameters related to
the physics of the fire itself, has emerged as one of the most promising tools to understand and deal with the
problem of forest fire propagation. The so-called physical models solve the set of conservation equations (mass,
momentum, and energy), using several sub-models that deal with a number of phenomena. Pressure drop and
heat transfer inside the fuel bed are two of these sub-models.

In Southern Europe, forest fire is a major problem in pine tree stands, where the fuel bed contains mainly pine
needles. There is no data for pressure drop nor heat transfer between a gas and a matrix of pine needles.
Therefore, the sub-models that have been used are based on the data available for packed beds used in
chemical engineering. However, these beds are much more compact than a pine needles fuel bed, and the
geometry of their elements is quite different. Therefore, the need arises to develop a sub-model for conditions
similar to those of the forest fuel bed.

An experimental device was set-up to obtain the convective heat transfer coefficient h in a matrix of Pinus
pinaster needles that reproduces the forest fuel bed. It consisted of a rectangular duct, connected to the exit of a
small wind tunnel. The first section of the duct accommodated a set of electrical resistances to provide hot air to
the second section, which was packed with the pine needles. The second section was instrumented with
thermocouples. All thermocouples were located in the axis of the duct, and the first one was located at the
entrance of the second section. Five pressure taps were placed on the bottom wall of the working section,
equally spaced along its length, and connected to a micro manometer through a manifold. In this way, values of
pressure drop along the duct have been obtained. Assuming a random distribution of the needles inside the
duct, and using average values of needle dimensions, a frontal area could be calculated and a drag coefficient
obtained in the usual way.

Pressure drop experiments were carried out in steady conditions for flows at different temperatures (equal for
both air and needles). However, experiments of heat transfer had to be carried in unsteady conditions, where
hot air heated the needles, initially at room temperature. The convective heat transfer coefficient h was obtained
from an energy balance during the transient period when hot air flew through the cold needles matrix.

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EUFIRELAB

The results for pressure drop can be found in:

VENTURA J M P, MENDES-LOPES J M C, and SANTOS C F P: “Experimental determination of pressure drop through


a bed of pine needles”, 4th Int. Conf. Forest Fire Research / 2002 Wildland Fire Safety Summit, Luso,
November 2002, Viegas (ed.), 2002 Millpress (Rotterdam)

The results for heat transfer can be found in:

MENDES-LOPES J M C, VENTURA J M P, and RODRIGUES J A M: “Determination of heat transfer coefficient through


a matrix of Pinus pinaster needles”, 4th Int. Conf. Forest Fire Research / 2002 Wildland Fire Safety Summit,
Luso, November 2002, Viegas (ed.), 2002 Millpress (Rotterdam)

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EUFIRELAB

6.5 FIRE SPREAD CHARACTERISTICS & PARAMETERS– MT. MAINALON, AUGUST 2000

Contact information for data set owner:


Contact Person: Vassiliki Varela or George Eftichidis
Organization: ALGOSYSTEMS S.A
Address: Syygrou 206 Kallithea Athens, Greece
Phone: + 30 210-9548000
Fax: +30 210-9548099
E-mail address: vvarela@algosystems.gr, geftihid@algosystems.gr

Vassiliki Varela
Contributor of information (Name and
Applied Research dept.
organization):
ALGOSYSTEMS S.A. Athens, Greece
E-mail address: vvarela@algosystems.gr
Real fire spread characteristics & parameters measured and
Short description of data set (up to 50 collected during the fire occurred in Mt..Mainalon in August 2000.
words): The data set can be used for the testing & validation of fire
behaviour prediction models and fire simulators.
Country: Greece
Area (city or location): Mt. Mainalon , Peloponessos
Date/Time period of the data: August 2000
Keywords (5 max): Fire behaviour prediction, fire simulation, validation

Category of DSS for which the data set is appropriate (please check using 2):

Presuppression planning Forest fire risk assessment


Fire danger assessment Fire detection
Operational fire suppression
Fire behaviour prediction X
(including dispatching)
Other (explain) :___________________
Fire effects assessment and mitigation

Data set availability (please check using 2):


Published in a scientific journal or
Public domain / Internet
stand-alone publication

Published in an (accessible) report Private (needs contact with owner) X

Other (explain) :
X
Private (available at some cost) The basic spatial data (eg. Topography, fuels
(only for basic
etc for the geographical area are available at
spatial data)
some cost)
Personal support availability for using the data set. (please
Yes X No
check using 2):

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Type of data (please check using 2):


Txt, &
Alphanumeric (text, spreadsheet) X Database format
shp files
The basic spatial data are
Spatial database (GIS) X available in GRID-ASCII (Arc-Info)
format
Image (ex: photo from fire detection system)
Documentation level (please check using 2):
No documentation Basic documentation
Good documentation X Excellent documentation

Extended data set description (including relevant information such as history of data set, project for which it was
created, original objective, when and how it was created, data description (variables, sample size, format,
limitations), previous uses of the data, publication citation, etc.) (maximum 1000 words):

The real fire data of the fire occurred in August 2000 in Mt. Mainalon was collected for the validation purposes of
FMIS (Fire Management Information System) that has been developed by ALGOSYSTEMS S.A.
The available fire data-set includes information about the ignition point and time, detailed fire-step contours, spot
fires and weather conditions during the fire.
In addition, the basic spatial data layers (fuels, topography) were created for the geographical area of Mt. Mainalon,
in order to use them for the fire simulation purposes, which are available at some cost.
The data as well as the FMIS validation results have been presented during technical meetings of European and
national fire management related projects.

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EUFIRELAB

6.6 FIRE SPREAD CHARACTERISTICS & PARAMETERS– MT. PENTELI 1995

Contact information for data set owner:


Contact Person: Vassiliki Varela or George Eftichidis
Organization: ALGOSYSTEMS S.A
Address: Syygrou 206 Kallithea Athens, Greece
Phone: + 30 210-9548000
Fax: +30 210-9548099
E-mail address: vvarela@algosystems.gr, geftihid@algosystems.gr

Vassiliki Varela
Contributor of information (Name and Applied Research dept.
organization): ALGOSYSTEMS S.A. Athens, Greece
E-mail address: vvarela@algosystems.gr
Data set short title: Fire spread characteristics & parameters– Mt. Penteli 1995
Real fire spread characteristics & parameters measured and
Short description of data set (up to 50 collected during the fire occurred in Mt.Penteli in July 1995. The
words): data set can be used for the testing & validation of fire behaviour
prediction models and fire simulators.
Country: Greece
Area (city or location): Attika, Mt. Penteli
Date/Time period of the data: July 1995
Keywords (5 max): Fire behaviour prediction, fire simulation, validation

Category of DSS for which the data set is appropriate (please check using 2):

Presuppression planning Forest fire risk assessment


Fire danger assessment Fire detection
Operational fire suppression
Fire behaviour prediction X
(including dispatching)
Other (explain)
Fire effects assessment and mitigation ___________________________

Data set availability (please check using 2):


Published in a scientific journal or
Public domain / Internet X
stand-alone publication

Published in an (accessible) report Private (needs contact with owner)

X Other (explain)

Private (available at some cost) (only for The basic spatial data (eg. Topography, fuels
basic spatial etc for the geographical area are available at
data) some cost)
Personal support availability for using the data set. (please
Yes X No
check using 2):

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EUFIRELAB

Type of data (please check using 2):


Txt, &
Alphanumeric (text, spreadsheet) X Database format
shp files
The basic spatial data are
Spatial database (GIS) X available in GRID-ASCII (Arc-Info)
format
Image (ex: photo from fire detection system)
Documentation level (please check using 2):
No documentation Basic documentation
Good documentation X Excellent documentation

Extended data set description (including relevant information such as history of data set, project for which it was
created, original objective, when and how it was created, data description (variables, sample size, format,
limitations), previous uses of the data, publication citation, etc.) (maximum 1000 words):

The real fire data of the fire occurred in July 1995 in Mt. Penteli was collected for the validation purposes of FMIS
(Fire Management Information System) which has been developed by ALGOSYSTEMS S.A.
The available fire data-set includes information about the ignition point and time, detailed fire-step contours and
weather conditions during the fire.
In addition, the basic spatial data layers (fuels, topography) were created for the geographical area of Mt. Penteli,
in order to use them for the fire simulation purposes, which are available at some cost.
The data as well as the FMIS validation results have been presented in one conference and during technical
meetings of European and national fire management related projects.

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EUFIRELAB

6.7 DIGITAL MAPS OF BURNED AREAS FROM SELECTED STUDY SITES WITHIN THE
EUROMEDITERRANEAN REGION

Contact information for data set owner:


Contact Person: Dr. M. Pilar Martín Isabel
Organization: Instituto de Economía y Geografía (IEG)
Pinar 25
Address: 28006 Madrid Spain
Phone: +34 914111098
Fax: +34 915 625 567
E-mail address: mpilar.martin@ieg.csic.es

Dr. Pilar Martín Isabel, Israel Gómez Nieto


Instituto de Economía y Geografía (IEG)
Contributor of information (Name and Institute of Economics and Geography
organization): Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Spanish Council for Scientific Research
(EUFIRELAB partner P30)
mpilar.martin@ieg.csic.es
E-mail address: Israel@ieg.csic.es

Burned area maps for Spain and Portugal have been produced
Short description of data set (up to 50
using coarse resolution sensors: NOAA-AVHRR and TERRA-
words):
MODIS. Period 2001-2003.
Country: Spain, Portugal
Area (city or location): Spain, Portugal
Date/Time period of the data: 2001-2003
Keywords (5 max): Burned area, regional scale, satellite images

Category of DSS for which the data set is appropriate (please check using 2):

Presuppression planning Forest fire risk assessment


Fire danger assessment Fire detection
Operational fire suppression
Fire behaviour prediction
(including dispatching)
Other (explain)
Fire effects assessment and mitigation x ___________________________

Data set availability (please check using 2):


Published in a scientific journal or
Public domain / Internet X
stand-alone publication

Published in an (accessible) report Private (needs contact with owner)

Other (explain) ____________________


Private (available at some cost)

Personal support availability for using the data set. (please


Yes No x
check using 2):

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Type of data (please check using 2):


Alphanumeric (text, spreadsheet) Database format
Spatial database (GIS) x
Image (ex: photo from fire detection system)
Documentation level (please check using 2):
No documentation Basic documentation
Good documentation x Excellent documentation

Extended data set description (including relevant information such as history of data set, project for which it was
created, original objective, when and how it was created, data description (variables, sample size, format,
limitations), previous uses of the data, publication citation, etc.) (maximum 1000 words):

The data set was generated in the framework of the Spread “FOREST FIRE SPREAD
PREVENTION AND MITIGATION” An EC research project co-funded by the Energy, Environment and Sustainable
Development Programme within RTD activities of a generic nature, Topic Fight against major natural and
technological hazards (Forest Fires). Contract number EVG1-CT-2001-00043.
Burned area maps for selected Euromediterranean countries (Spain and Portugal) were produced using coarse
resolution sensors: NOAA-AVHRR and TERRA-MODIS. Those maps cover the period 2001-2003 and provide the
delimitation of fire perimeters and quantification of area affected.
All the maps were included in digital format in a CDRom. They were homogenized into a common software-specific
format: ARC-Gis Shape, using also a common UTM projection. The files were properly documented including
metadata with basic information on data identification, spatial data organization, attribute description etc. Graphic
formats (Tif and Jpg of the final maps were also included in the CDRom to facilitate the visualization to those who
are not familiar with the ArcGis format. A report included in the CDRom describes the different process applied to
produce the maps, including a brief description of the data used, methodologies and results.

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6.8 HUMAN WILDFIRE RISK ESTIMATION MAPS AT REGIONAL SCALE USING ANTHROPOGENIC
VARIABLES

Contact information for data set owner:


Contact Person: Dr. Javier Martínez Vega
Organization: Instituto de Economía y Geografía (IEG)
Pinar 25
Address: 28006 Madrid Spain
Phone: +34 914111098
Fax: +34 915 625 567
E-mail address: vega@ieg.csic.es

Dr. Pilar Martín Isabel, Dr. Javier Martínez Vega, Lara Vilar del
Hoyo
Instituto de Economía y Geografía (IEG)
Contributor of information (Name and Institute of Economics and Geography
organization): Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Spanish Council for Scientific Research
(EUFIRELAB partner P30)
mpilar.martin@ieg.csic.es
E-mail address: vega@ieg.csic.es
lvilar@ieg.csic.es
Predictive models have been applied combined in a GIS
Short description of data set (up to 50 environment a spatial set of socio-economic variables to produce
words): human wildfire risk estimation maps at regional scale (1 Km2
resolution).
Country: Spain
Area (city or location): Madrid region
Date/Time period of the data: 2005-2006
Keywords (5 max): Anthropogenic, fire risk, models, spatial database, regional scale

Category of DSS for which the data set is appropriate (please check using 2):

Presuppression planning Forest fire risk assessment x


Fire danger assessment Fire detection
Operational fire suppression
Fire behaviour prediction
(including dispatching)
Other (explain) ____________________
Fire effects assessment and mitigation

Data set availability (please check using 2):


Published in a scientific journal or
Public domain / Internet X
stand-alone publication

Published in an (accessible) report Private (needs contact with owner) X

Other (explain) _____________________


Private (available at some cost)

Personal support availability for using the data set. (please


Yes No x
check using 2):

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Type of data (please check using 2):


Alphanumeric (text, spreadsheet) Database format
Spatial database (GIS) x
Image (ex: photo from fire detection system)
Documentation level (please check using 2):
No documentation Basic documentation
Good documentation x Excellent documentation

Extended data set description (including relevant information such as history of data set, project for which it was
created, original objective, when and how it was created, data description (variables, sample size, format,
limitations), previous uses of the data, publication citation, etc.) (maximum 1000 words):

This data set has been developed in the frame of the FIREMAP project (“Integrated Analyse of wildfire risk with
remote sensing and GIS techniques” (reference CGL2004-06049-C04-02), from 2004 to 2007.
The general aim of the project was to obtain an integrated fire risk index for operational fire managers that
contains danger and vulnerability, and that can be provided in real time.
The main activity of EURFIRELAB partner P30 (Institute of Economics and Geography) in that project was to
develop specific human risk models that could be integrate in the final risk index in order to include the human
activity in the estimation of the fire ignition. The first objective of this work was to identify significant variables than
can be used to predict the human ignition risk in Spain. The second one is to propose a human caused fire
occurrence prediction model, with a long-term scope at regional level.
To reach this objective, it has been developed a spatial database using GIS techniques at 1 km resolution. To
generate this database first the human risk factors has been defined. For each human factor one or several
anthropogenic variables have been identified and obtained from different sources (cartographical and statistical).
All the anthropogenic variables have been transformed into spatial variables.
Logistic regression models have been used to estimate the probability of human fire occurrence. The model is
constructed by exploring relationships between the density of human caused fires during a period of 14 years
(dependent variable) and 22 socio-economic variables (independent ones) for the Madrid region. The model
predicts properly the probability of each spatial unit have a high or low incidence of man-caused fires and provides
a idea of the relative importance of each human factor in the explaining ignition.
Final map for Madrid region and a brief description of the methods used to generate the data can be accessed in
http://www.geogra.uah.es/firemap/

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