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CORDIS - EU research results



Reporting period: 2021-04-01 to 2022-09-30

The FirEUrisk project was designed to improve the protection of citizens exposed to wildfires, namely extreme forest fires, that endanger populations, their assets, and the environment. FirEUrisk aims to develop a science-based and risk-wise strategy, which integrates practices and policies of forest fire prevention, suppression, and adaptation in a holistic conceptual framework. In addition, a collaborative online platform is being implemented to support joint coordination, training, and operational exercises, integrating knowledge from multiple stakeholders and all forest fire-related management tasks. These primary outcomes are being developed according to three main strategic lines: 1) expand current systems for wildland fire risk assessment, including critical factors of risk not considered previously; 2) produce effective measures to reduce current fire risk conditions; and 3) adapt management strategies to expected future climate and socio-economic changes. FirEUrisk project will also (4) model socio-economic issues and human activity influencing fire ignition, vulnerability, and exposure, (5) evaluate the impact of National and EU policies on land use change, rural economy, and regional development in the light of expected future fire regime changes, and (6) consider potential cascading effects linked to wildfires.
FirEUrisk project aims to deliver innovative risk-informed regional planning approaches that effectively increase local communities' resilience, improving their safety and overall welfare while mitigating the consequences of wildfires.
The project aims to develop methods, which will be tested and showcased in five Pilot Sites (PS), covering different fire conditions (3 in the Mediterranean, 1 in central Europe, and 1 in northern Europe), plus some –at lower spatial resolution- enveloping the European Territory (ET). In addition, several demo areas across 17 countries participating in the project are used to test and demonstrate specific development and methodologies for wildfire management products.
WP1 has been focused on the assessment of current fire risk conditions. Since fire impacts result from several dimensions manifested differently in diverse territories, the assessment has included diverse expertise and application regions. Among several developments from WP1. a mobile application was created to help citizens to improve awareness of fire risk conditions and recall their help in characterizing ground fuels and fire outbreaks.
WP2 intends to develop new strategies to reduce fire risk conditions. The main factors considered in risk assessment are being modelled, including the reduction of ignitions caused by human factors through improving citizen awareness and education towards fire and analysing the impacts of prescribed burning on fuel flammability. New strategies for land management related to fire ignition and propagation have also been examined, with a comprehensive review of existing literature and modelling land use trends
WP3 focussed on producing the future climate scenarios, i.e. the climate variables, their temporal resolution and the prioritization of the climate models to span them across the spread of the future fire weather index.
WP4 involves the conceptual integration of the project outcomes and includes managing the FirEUrisk Observatory, a group formed of European experts and managers that provide advice for the project development. It has developed a reliable, collaborative platform, which stores all geographical databases generated for the project and is being tested for the ET and PS. The conceptual integration of the project has been completed for the risk assessment activities, while the liaison between the political and practitioner activities and links with existing European policies are currently being generated. This strategy also includes cascading effects with other natural hazards, such as wind or snow storms, insect plagues, or potential radioactive emissions (modelled explicitly in the Chernobyl exclusion area).
In WP5, a dedicated questionnaire has been developed to be sure the project portfolio meets user needs. The preparation phase has involved collecting databases for all five PS (plus ET) within the different WP1-3, selecting products and demos, and designing a plan for demonstration events. During the project progress meetings (in Portugal and Germany), dedicated sessions were held with operational services of the regions, including fire brigades and managers. The project was presented to them, and reports on their activities and practices were produced and distributed.
In WP6, six public webinars have been held with relevant topics (fire risk, reduction strategies, data management, future fire regimes and biodiversity, and past fires). In addition, specific courses on fuel type mapping will be organized in January 2023. Communication activities included a wide range of actions, including the generation of the project's corporate identity (logo, templates, booklets, web page, infographics, etc.), a motion graphic animation (viewed more than 4000 times so far), social media: Twitter (>2500 followers, > 160,000 impressions), Linkedin (>19,000 impressions), and press activities (120 media hits). Collaboration with Firelogue is also frequent in this activity. Finally, this WP includes a policy review, integration, and exploitation task, which aims to facilitate the transfer of project outcomes to improving fire policies in EU.
The FirEUrisk project has established boards and a network of key stakeholders to improve the project’s visibility and ensure wide feedback on project’s approach. So far, the FirEUrisk has published several scientific papers. Furthermore, many products and datasets were also developed, including:
• A hierarchical, scale-independent and multipurpose fuel classification system. Generation of a fuel map of the ET at 1 km2 ( This product and those derived from the PS at 1 ha resolution have used this classification.
• A fire ignition probability model at ET and PS scales, based on human and biophysical variables. Numerous datasets of explanatory factors have been obtained from available sources.
• An in-depth review of land use management strategies to reduce fire risk was performed and their application throughout the ET in present and future conditions will be assessed as a next step.
• A contribution to understand better the dynamic evolution of wildfires, namely some very large fires, as an oscillatory and intermittent process was made.
• A comprehensive characterization of extreme fires occurring in different European countries in 2021, aiming to formalize mega-fires analysis. Data and information were collected from areas/countries that faced extreme fires in the summer of 2021 in a detailed report to be published soon.
• An improved proposal for an integrated fire risk scheme in Europe, built on previous works, based on the main components of FirEUrisk and of testing them in dedicated PS.
• A conceptual framework for the integrated management of wildfires, considering the work done by several institutions in Europe and elsewhere is being prepared and will be proposed.
Fire risk reduction will positively promote cost-effective bio-economies and nature-based solutions. Overall, mitigating the devastating effects of extreme forest fires will improve safety and resilience in rural areas.
FirEUrisk pilot site three fuel type
FirEUrisk fire ignition probability model at ET and PS scales
FirEUrisk preliminary results of fire propagation potential for the PS of Barcelona (Spain)
FirEUrisk European fuel map at 1km resolution. Source: