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Image Complete User Support for Tackling Forest Fires

By providing decision-support, the software prototype, CHARADE, can be used to help prevent catastrophic wild fires and to manage other environmental emergencies.


CHARADE is a software prototype designed to support decision-making in forest fire management. It can be used either in a real operational context, in a simulated environment for training, or for long-term planning purposes. Its flexible architecture also means it can be adapted for use in other environmental emergency situations such as in flood or pollution prevention.

While software tools exist to address certain aspects of forest fires, such as fire detection, territory monitoring, fire evolution forecasting etc., CHARADE is the first to provide complete support for the entire process of fire management, from alarm detection to the first intervention plan.

Business perspective

Every year, wild fires present a major threat to the environment, economy and safety of Mediterranean regions. In 1993, the Mediterranean lost over 400,000 hectares of wood through fire, and fire damage is estimated to cost countries, such as Italy and Spain, around 200 MECU per year. Most authorities now acknowledge that the cost of investing in improved prevention and management fires is ultimately far less than the cost of recovering from the damage.

One of the first markets to be targeted for the CHARADE prototype is therefore fire control centres in the Mediterranean. Users will benefit from complete decision support throughout a fire emergency, from fire detection and localisation, fire threat assessment, first intervention planning and resources allocation. Other potential markets include training centres for fire operators, and civil defense institutions responsible for dealing with other environmental emergencies such as flooding or pollution control.

Technical perspective

The CHARADE prototype contains several integrated facilities including a situation assessment module for the quick and automatic assessment of emergency situations; a resource manager and an interactive planner to improve the exploitation of Image available resources. These functions are supported by a geographical database, which provides information on features such as vegetation, the water supply and roads. A cooperative human-machine interface has been specially designed to assist the operator in accomplishing tasks and to guide the dialogue between the user and the system.


Work is currently underway to provide tools, based on the CHARADE prototype, for fire control centres and a fire management training centre in France. The first tool will be used to support interventions in forest fires, to de-brief fire fighters and to study past interventions; the second will help trainers design forest fire exercises by simulating real fire situations; and the third tool will be used for self-teaching and study by allowing users to manage and explore a database of past forest fire interventions.

Contact Point

Fulvio Marcoz
Via Tiburtina Km 12,400
I-00131 Rome

e-mail 1 (email removed)

Maurizio Stocchero
Via Tiburtina Km 12,400
I-00131 Rome

e-mail (email removed)


Research Area Software Technologies

Project EP-6095 CHARADE

Keywords decision-support systems; environmental management systems;forest fire management systems;

Project Participants
Alcatel ISR FR
ALENIA, Un'Azienda Finmeccanica IT
Ceselsa-Inisel ES
Italsoft IT
Link IT
SMA (affiliated to Alenia) IT
Thomson-CSF LCR FR
Thomson-CSF LER FR

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This page was last updated on 22 November 1996, and is maintained by (email removed)