PREFER is a project funded in the EU FP7, with start on 1st December 2012 and three years duration.
The main objective of PREFER is to set up a space-based end-to-end information services, based on satellite remote sensing data, to support prevention/preparedness and recovery phases of the Forest Fires emergency cycle in the European Mediterranean Region.
Because of its overall mild climate, the broad northern Mediterranean Region (including Greece, Italy, France and Spain and Portugal, the latter being the westernmost temperate non-Mediterranean areas of Europe) is also the region presenting the largest fraction of forested areas in Europe. Portugal, with its 38% of forests, is ranked first, followed by Spain’s 36.41%, Italy’s 30.36%, Greece’s 30.28% and France’s 29.13% (World Bank, 2011).
These areas are subjected to persistent, high wildfire hazard arising from several causes as, among others:
- Occurrence of wet and dry weather extremes;
- Diminished control on traditional practices involving fires as an instrument for land management and sanitization;
- Coexistence of urban settlements, infrastructure networks and vegetated areas (forest, agricultural and uncultivated areas) in a complex, dense and intimately interconnected patchwork.
In the PREFER’s concept, mapping inspires to those “thematic and synoptic characteristics” stated in the Italian law no.353/2000, the first to allow the exploitation of Remote-Sensing observations in legal applications to Fire Risk and Forest Fire-Fighting. The systematic carrying out of operations, and the equally systematic creation and delivery of products deserve priority in PREFER, which configures as an Industry-driven/Science-controlled initiative, dedicated to the pre-event and post-event integration of the EFFIS’ concept.
The key-drivers of PREFER can be summarized in the four main topics below:
- Systematic Fuel Estimates
- Systematic Burn Scar Mapping
- Systematic Analysis of fire Effects on Slope Stability
- Systematic Vegetation Recovery Analysis