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Commission launches research project to monitor forest fires

The European Commission has decided to support a research project on the satellite detection of forest fires in the Mediterranean region. The project, named FUEGO, will be supported by the Environment and Climate specific RTD programme of the Fourth Framework Programme, and wa...

The European Commission has decided to support a research project on the satellite detection of forest fires in the Mediterranean region. The project, named FUEGO, will be supported by the Environment and Climate specific RTD programme of the Fourth Framework Programme, and was selected following the call for proposals of 17 October 1995 (OJ No C 271 of 17.10.1995 p. 23). Forest fires are a major problem in the five southern Member States of the EU (France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain), with 2.6 million hectares burned during 1989-1993. The problems to be tackled are both the detection of fires and the coordination of the subsequent fire-fighting activities. The FUEGO project will investigate the potential benefits of real-time space observation to fire-fighting in Mediterranean forest areas. It should lead to a complete description of the payload elements, including sensors and processors, of the satellite. The Environment and Climate programme already supports other projects aimed at research into forest fires. These are: - MEFISTO, which has developed a forest fire simulator to forecast the evolution of fires; - MEGAFIRES, which aims to develop global maps of fire risk in Mediterranean countries; - "Risk sensor", to measure the fire risk in a region; - "Reclamation of Mediterranean ecosystems affected by wildfire", which aims to develop techniques for wildlife restoration following fires; - MINERVE, which aims to develop an assistance system for decision-makers dealing with forest fires; - PROMOTHEUS, which aims to develop a knowledge-based geographical information system to estimate the effects of fire on the forest ecosystem.