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Preventing and fighting extreme fires - A substantial effort of Europe on Research and Innovation

After Australia and North America, Europe has really entered in the era of extreme bushfires during the last decade (the European preferred terminology is ‘forest fires’, even if we are more and more talking about ‘landscape fires’). It was particularly highlighted in 2017 in Portugal, when two catastrophic events claimed 117 lives in total.

In parallel, the European Commission (EC) published a report (Faivre et al. 2018*) that critically reviewed the results of the initiatives in research and innovation in the past, and that paved the way for an adaptation of policy toward more prevention.

As a result, the EC launched several calls with a massive investment to understand, prevent and reduce the adverse effects of those extreme fires.

A first research and innovation project, FIREURISK, has started in April. It involves 38 partners across Europe, with a partnership in Australia. SAFE Cluster is leading the Work Package on ‘Fire Risk Reduction to improve protection’.

The outputs would pave the way for more projects to be funded in the frame of the Green Deal call.

With 80 M€, the Green Deal will fund 4 major Innovation Actions and one Coordination and Support Action.

  • Objective: develop, test and disseminate an Integrated and science-based strategy for wildfire risk management in Europe

  • Duration: 4 years; started April 2021

  • Budget: 10 M€

  • Coordinator: Pr D Viegas (ADAI, Portugal)

  • FR partners involved SAFE, RAMBOLL, IRD/CNRS Montpellier, LSCE Versailles

  • AU partner: BNHCRC

The objective announced in the call is to ‘speed up the pan-European adaptation process to extreme wildfires by advancing and applying research and innovation including demonstration pilot sites while making best use of existing data (e.g. remote sensing, in-situ or community-based data), technologies (e.g. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence) and services (as Copernicus, Galileo and EGNOS) and closely engaging and coordinating all concerned actors and communities’.

SAFE cluster, and most the research centres, industries and end-users engaged in forest fire research and innovations are competing in the call. Several partnerships with Australian actors have also been established. The EC may announce the winning proposals in few days. More information in next AFRAN Bushfire Newsletters!


* Faivre, Nicolas, Francisco Xanthopoulos, José Moreno, Victoriano Calzada, et Gavriil Xanthopoulos. 2018. Forest Fires - Sparking firesmart policies in the EU.

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