Climate change will lead to a dramatic increase in damage from forest fires in Europe by the end of this century. In the Mediterranean region, the average annual area affected by forest fires has quadrupled since the 1960s (WWF, 2012). The number of forest fires is also on the increase in Central and Northern Europe. The Austrian forest fire database (http://fire.boku.ac.at/public) shows a total of 584 fires for the period 2012 to 2014, while even large areas of Sweden were hit by forest fires in August 2014, which were brought under control only after two weeks of intense fire-fighting efforts supported by European civil protection modules.
Improvements in forest fire control are a major national and international issue in the quest to protect human lives and resources and to reduce the negative environmental impact of these fires to a minimum. The key to optimal deployment of fire-fighting teams is to provide a situation map in near-real time and a powerful role and scenario-focused management solution. This will ensure that resources such as mobile rescue teams, vehicles/equipment on the ground, fire-fighting planes and helicopters (‘modules’) can be deployed efficiently and interactively. Fire-fighting measures differ substantially depending on the type of forest fire. Ground fires, crown fires and large-scale surface fires require different control strategies, which need to be taken into account in the management solution. Apart from the optimal deployment of emergency teams during the forest fire, it is also necessary to monitor the affected area for at least 36 hours after the fire has been extinguished in order to detect any hot spots that may rekindle the fire.
The airborne multi-functional management support system ARGUS, developed as part of the KIRAS project AIRWATCH, (<link gefoerderte-projekte detail projekt airwatch>www.kiras.at/gefoerderte-projekte/detail/projekt/airwatch/) enables real-time monitoring of natural disasters based on optical and thermal images. Airborne image acquisition and near real-time processing allow the generation of an up-to-date situation map. ARGUS will be used as a basis for innovative extensions and research developments designed to optimise command operations in national and international fire-fighting missions. 3F-MS aims at the development of a multi-level management solution to coordinate the different airborne and terrestrial modules deployed as well as data processing and data distribution. Further, a targeted control of the thermal sensor based on a rotating mirror system as well as a near real-time on-board processing in the 3F-MS aerial module to ensure reduced bandwidth shall be realized along with automatic data analysis for the generation of an up-to-date situation map of the specific scenario. With respect to planning and evaluation of resource deployment and effectiveness of the fire-fighting measures a module for simulation-based decision support shall be integrated. Another focus will be on the integration of wearable systems to assist ground teams in rescue operations as well as a mobile information system into innovative command and fire-fighting vehicles. One goal is also to create a concept for the integration of the 3F-MS system into an “EU Civil Protection Team” to support the EU civil protection modules and the Emergency Response Coordination Centre in Brussels. International networking is a key aim of the project. This will be achieved by international cooperation and the organisation of an international 3F-MS workshop in Austria as part of the EU’s Exchange of Experts Programme.
DI Alexander Almer, JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsges.mbH, DIGITAL
Ing. Richard Feischl, IFR,
Magirus Lohr GmbH
Dr. Gerhard Grossmann, Karl Franzens Universität Graz, Katastrophenforschung
Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport
Bundesministerium für Inneres- BMI; Sektion II
Freiwillige Feuerwehr Gumpoldskirchen,
Firefighting Association Primorsko-goranska Country – Kroatien
European Commission Joint Research Centre, IES
Forest Resources and Climate Unit- Italien
Amt der Niederösterreichischen Landesregierung
DI Alexander Almer
JOANNEUM RESEARCH – DIGITAL – Institut für Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien
Steyrergasse 17, 8010 Graz, AUSTRIA
Tel.: +043 316 876 1738 Mobile: +043 699 1876 1738
Fax: +043 316 876 1720 E-Fax: +043 316 876 9 1738