Sardinia seen from space (Envisat image)© ESA
Europe prepares for forest fires – major simulation exercise held in Sardinia
As the southern shores of Europe warm up, the risk of forest fires increases. The European Commission and Member States are working closely together to prepare for the coming forest fire season, building on the lessons learnt from the tragic experiences of 2007. Five Member States and the European Commission's disaster Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) are involved in a large-scale simulation exercise in Sardinia that runs from 16 to 19 April. The exercise, SARDINIA 2008, forms part of a larger pilot project co-financed by the European Commission, which aims at developing the notion of a rapid European intervention force for disasters.
Exercises like this one, but more importantly also actual fire-fighting campaigns are supported by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), run by the JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES). EFFIS provides fire danger forecasts (currently up to 6 days forecast) during the fire season helping in improving preparedness for forest fire fighting. In addition, EFFIS monitors the forest fire situation in Europe through the provision of information of active fires (hot spots) and the rapid assessment of forest fire damages in the countries.