Summer 2022 has been devastating in terms of forest fires in Europe. According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), 770 750 ha have burnt in the EU since the beginning of the year, which represents more than the forested area in Belgium.
To mitigate such disasters, European countries will have to strengthen their prevention measures, reinforce early detection, coordination but also planning the restoration of the affected areas.
Ongoing Horizon 2020 projects are working hard on this topic to test different types of strategies to apply and be well-prepared for the coming years.
Prevention, detection and restoration
The project SILVANUS, with a budget of 24 M€ and 49 partners aims at releasing a sustainable forest management platform and methodologies for monitoring and protecting natural resources in the fight against extreme wildfire. The environmental monitoring framework developed within SILVANUS will be supplemented with cutting-edge technologies for the early-stage detection and response coordination of wildfires. SILVANUS scientists and research engineers will aid the civil protection authorities to efficiently monitor forest resources, to evaluate biodiversity, to generate more accurate fire risk indicators, and promote safety regulations among the local population affected by wildfire through awareness campaigns. Finally, the SILVANUS platform will offer support for rehabilitation, restoration, and adaptation of natural forest growth. 12 Pilots areas (from France to Indonesia) will be used to test different scenarios and strategies.
Support emergency decision-making
To support societies in becoming more resilient across the key phases of the forests fires emergency management cycle, the project SAFERS is going to create an open and integrated platform featuring a forest fire Decision Support System. The platform will use information from different sources: earth observations from Copernicus and GEOSS, fire sensors in forests, topographic data, weather forecasts and even crowdsourced data from social media and other apps that can be used by citizens and first responders to provide situational in-field information.
More projects working on forest fires:
- FIRE-RES, Innovative technologies and socio-ecological-economic solutions for fire resilient territories in Europe
- DRYADS, A Holistic Fire Management Ecosystem for Prevention, Detection and Restoration of Environmental Disasters
- FirEUrisk, Developing a holistic, risk-wise strategy for European wildfire management
All these projects and other projects relevant to the forest-based sector can be found on the FTP Database.
 705 489 ha (PanoraBois 2021, Office économique wallon du bois)