Lead: Vito Vitale, National Research Council

Integrated Fire Risk Management (INFRA) Service

Photo by GRID-Arendal / Peter Prokosch


Increasing Arctic wildfires are a symptom of a warming planet. Much of the Arctic landmass is at an increased risk of fire. In current services, there is a gap in the provision of information tailored for first responders. We will develop an integrated web-based system that, collecting data and coupling physical and parametric models, will make available through and integrated IT platform a set of tools and information to support:

  • Prevention and forecasting of forest fires
  • Spotting and monitoring of forest fires
  • Emergency management of shutdown operations
  • post-event management and damage assessment


The service we are proposing aims to provide three main innovative products:

  • 1- A risk map making use of Near Real Time (NRT) information provided by satellite and ground-based stations
  • 2- Early identification of outbreaks, so as to allow the timely activation of the teams incharge of fire extinguishing
  • 3- Short term evolution of the fire event (typically 3-6 hours) on the basis of observations, weather forecast, information on land and vegetation conditions

A control center unit will offer the ICT web-based structure where operate integration of all inputs and all analysis, providing to operators all the useful elements, in the areas subjected to intervention,to identify and to reduce the risk of triggering fire outbreaks.

The last years have see a dramatic increase of wildfire events at high latitudes. Newspapers and televisions were filled with images of massive fires and clouds of smoke that covered vast regions of Asia and North America. What is happening is a less obvious, symptom of climate change and a warming planet. Rising temperatures in the Arctic have result in dryness during the spring and summer seasons on Arctic tundra and the surrounding boreal forest. At the same time, a warmer Arctic and sub-Arctic sees an increase of thunderstorms and lightning strikes, the typical events starting wildfires in the Arctic. Human activities like lumber and mining contribute to intensify the land’s dehydration. Then global warming in the Arctic contributes to increase both the fuel to burn and the ignition source, the two main ingredients (other than oxygen) necessary to start a fire. The increase of events in number and extent, and the increasing of human activities are rapidly making it necessary to monitor the risk of wildfires well in advance before they get too close to infrastructure or settlements.

Inside the Consortium, CNR, through several Institutes, and a SME, CAE, will be in charge to develop this system, with the main aim to support monitoring and decisions. An integrated web-based platform will make it easy to provide information and products useful to support:

  • Forecast of forestfires
  • Prevention of forest fires
  • Sighting and monitoring of forest fires
  • Emergency management of shutdown operations
  • Post-event management and damage assessment

We will identify specific areas for test cases (at the moment we foresee western Canadian Arctic/Alaska border regions and in West Siberia) and we co-develop the system with Indigenous and local communities, using a modular approach to facilitate the implementation in different conditions. We will test it in real operational conditions during the summer season.We will cooperate with Copernicus EFFIS service and with projects of the AC working groups EPPR and CAFF.

Ground-based measurements and data are important components of the strategy with the aim to capture as much as possible real conditions. Also new possibility to have integrated products of satellite observations will be precious in this respect. There is a deep interaction with Work Packages 1 and 2. With Pilot Service 5 we will develop procedures to provide information on emissions from wildfires. Pilot Servce 4 then will provide inputs and data for an evaluation of social benefit of observations (both ground-based and satellite) and will cooperate with Work Package 5.

The service currently covers the following areas: 

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