CORDIS - EU research results

Innovative Forest Fires Prevention Infrastructure for Residential Areas, Forestry and Critical Infrastructures

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SMART FIRE BARRIER (Innovative Forest Fires Prevention Infrastructure for Residential Areas, Forestry and Critical Infrastructures)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2015-12-31

Sustainable Managed Forests are the frontline against Climate Change. Forest fires are one of the major environmental problems worldwide, affecting developed and emerging countries. As a direct consequence of fire, each year millions of hectares of forests are burnt, causing the loss of human lives, livestock, damage to properties and environment. Economic damage derived is huge as well. Its accurate assessment is a complex process, since it is related not only to fire suppression costs, and restoration actions, but also to indirect effects on human health and food, local economies, loss of biodiversity, etc. The majority of forest fires (more than 95%) have an anthropic cause, which highlights the importance of Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas, roads or electric lines in fire prevention. COP21 Paris has identified forests as a key instrument in Climate Change fighting, being deforestation one of the main priorities.

In a world in which population is being concentrated in cities, the abandonment of rural areas is leading towards a poor managed landscape which results in more forest area with a high fuel load due to a weak vegetation management. This is making frequent the evolution of interacting local fires into “Mega-Fires” able to devastate large geographic areas. Additionally, Climate Change is modifying local weather conditions and raising the likeability of fires outside the typical fire seasons. WUI areas are critical in this process, since they require special attention from the emergency forces, and are a typical focus of fire ignition. WUI and Infrastructures in forests often lack of the necessary fire prevention countermeasures, due to their cost and their execution requirements in terms of land occupation, environmental impact, and vegetation removal. According to Eurostat, EU-28 Public Administrations are investing 2.235 million euros per year in Forest Fire Fighting. 75 % of this budget is allocated in direct fire extinction. However, as the conclusions obtained from the 2010 Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe stated, fire prevention measures are “not only preferable but also a cost effective way to manage forest fires when compared to fire fighting and suppression”.

Pyro Fire Extinction S.L. (PYRO) is a Spanish engineering start-up company devoted to the protection and conservation of wildland landscapes by means of providing value added solutions in the forest fire fighting domain. At PYRO, we believe to improve human coexistence with our world by using technology as a change driver. PYRO core business consists in providing directly to property holders, infrastructure managers and public administrations accessible protection tools against forest fires, affordable and environmentally sustainable based on proprietary technology. PYRO provides monitoring technology and environmental engineering tailored services as well.

PYRO SMART FIRE BARRIER (SFB) objective is to provide an innovative solution for the creation of forest fire preventive layers in WUI areas, linear and critical infrastructures, facilitating property holders to self-protect themselves and their goods, reducing human-caused fire effects over territory at an affordable cost. SFB allows creating new fire countermeasures, reinforcing existing ones, and reducing the impact of fire fighting operations. PYRO SFB offers a consistent driver to improve the efficiency of the overall fire suppression operative, allowing public investment-intensive fire fighting means to be assigned in a more efficient manner, and contributes to increase the safety level of fire fighting ground forces as well. Composed by PYRO-developed NUB-E Capsules plus B-SEED monitoring technologies, PYRO SMART FIRE BARRIER is able to protect properties against forest fires and monitor perimeters with a low investment and no vegetation removal.

Founded in 2011 by Mr. Jose Luis Liz Graña, PYRO main office is located at the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) Business Acceleration Facilities, located at Campus de Vera (Valencia, Spain). Pyro has access to Forest Engineering Testing Facilities thanks to a framework agreement with UPV, and strong links to the research community. PYRO is partner of AF3 Project, a European R&D initiative addressed to introduce innovative technologies in the Fire Fighting sector, in which Public Fire Fighting bodies from Italy, Greece, Israel and Spain are represented.
PYRO current portfolio is composed of two technical product lines, plus a selection of environmental engineering services related to forest and landscape engineering:
- NUB-E Capsules: Developed within AF3 Project in coordination with relevant End-Users from several Mediterranean Countries, NUB-E capsules are an autonomous, low cost solution for fire prevention and extinction that can be combined in barriers optimized for their use in fire fighting in WUI areas.
- B-Seed: PYRO develops an environmental sensing product line able to provide monitoring capabilities and emergency information to improve the security and effectiveness of fire fighting operations.
- Environmental Engineering: As a multidisciplinary team of engineers, PYRO is able to offer tailored engineering, training and consultancy services for landscape management, fire fighting and forestry purposes.

The execution of the H2020 phase I feasibility study has consisted in several activities related with different market readiness topics, with the common objective to facilitate the penetration of SMART FIRE BARRIER in the fire prevention market in the Mediterranean countries suffering forest fires:
- Market Segmentation
- Commercialization Strategy: Approach, Partnerships, End Users
- Fire Risk Economic Modelling Generation
- Land use and legal issues analysis
- Industrial scale up analysis: Product Strategy, Capabilities, IPR

The feasibility study has allowed PYRO to research, benchmark and identify a suitable market niche to be defined as a beachhead market for product market launch. A detailed marketing plan has been formulated, incorporating research outcomes on budget available, procurement processes, financial requirements, etc. An approximation towards internationalization priorities has been drafted by means of a comprehensive market analysis. An efficient Partnership strategy and an End-user relationships policy aligned with the company strategically objectives have been defined and discussed, and many legal issues to be tackled have been outlined and summarized. An economic model for the assessment of Fire Risk has been introduced in order to support marketing decisions and help engaging non-technical users in the need for supporting forest fire prevention actions.

Another important part of the feasibility study has been to identify the strategic resources and capabilities to be used in the industrialization deployment, along with the elaboration of a map of product configurations tailored to the needs of the different market segments identified. The needs for future product evolutions have been envisaged, and the IPR protection strategy has been conveniently defined.
The main conclusion of the feasibility analysis is that there is a business opportunity for PYRO SMART FIRE BARRIER that has to be taken. The pressure of Mega-Fires in the Mediterranean countries is getting worse by the effect of Climate Change, which is modifying weather conditions and is favouring Forest Fires events outside typical fire seasons, making response approaches based only on Emergencies inefficient and unsafe. An alternative approach to forest fire fighting with a larger importance of fire prevention, based on an affordable product and services for individuals and companies committed with environment conservation deserves to be considered. PYRO SMART FIRE BARRIER proposes a sustainable business model based on this idea, in order to generate a sustainable economic activity based on technology that helps fighting Climate Change.
Pyro Staff performing Product Tests during Prescribed Fires
Pyro Fire Extinction Logo
Fire Prevention activities carried out by Forest Brigades
NuB-e Capsule, PYRO SMART FIRE BARRIER and B-SEED Monitoring interface