FireMap Project, which coordinates a research group at the University of Alcalá, has developed a software tool that facilitates integrated indices of fire risk from a variety of variables.
The fire has a role in the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems, appearing as one of the most decisive factors controlling the selection and adaptation of species. It also has important implications for weather, as it is considered that biomass burning account for 40% of total CO2 emissions.
In addition to this important global impact, fires have regional implications that can be quite negative, especially when the historical cycles of recurrence are modified, either by a sudden change in patterns of occupation of the territory (land abandonment in some areas , colonization in others), and by the indirect effects of global warming.
In this environment, it becomes increasingly evident the importance of having better tools for knowledge and fire management. Thus, the use of geographic information technologies provides new possibilities for obtaining and managing spatial information in order to improve decision making on the territory.
In this context, FireMap project arose, which coordinates the Environmental Remote Sensing Group of the Department of Geography, University of Alcala de Henares, led by Professor Emilio Chuvieco, which seeks integrated indices of fire risk for different regions of Spain .
The integrated risk index is the product of two factors: the risk or probability of a fire at a given place and time, and vulnerability, which refers to the potential damage that the fire would have on the site. In turn, the danger is divided in danger of ignition and spread risk, while vulnerability is measured in socio-economic value, potential for degradation and landscape value. This index is based on different technologies, while remote sensing and geographic information systems are the basis of the analysis.
Most of the variables that have been developed for the project are static, ie are generated once for the length of the period of fires, since the system is geared to strategic planning. Some, however, require a major upgrade, daily for the case of dead fuel moisture and live fuel weekly.
Currently available on a web server all information concerning the different variables that researchers managed to project a particular territory, in this case the Community of Madrid, Comunidad de Aragón, Valencia and Huelva province. These data and the resulting risk index, which may be mild, medium or high-are available to any interested party, although there is a permission to access project users (civil protection, fire departments, forest services, Civil Guard …) that you may download this spatial information and include it in their systems of geographical analysis.
The most novel aspects of FireMap are coming to a final integration of variables, that they are all geotagged and that information is easily accessible and outpatients. It is also one of the few global indices that takes into account the risk factors linked to human activity.
In this research, coordinated by the UAH and financing the Interministerial Commission of Science and Technology (CICYT), worked for three years, a multidisciplinary team of foresters, ecologists, economists and geographers, and involves the University of Cordoba , the CSIC, the Ministry of Environment, the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, University of Zaragoza and the Foundation Center for Environmental Studies of the Mediterranean.
The intent of the Environmental Remote Sensing Group at the University of Alcalá is further progress in this field, so they have applied for a research project with the purpose of developing a fire risk index of national or even global scale.
The project progress can be followed on the page:
|Category: Geography||Tags: ecosystems, Geography, historical cycles, software tool, species, technologies|