Athens National Observatory: Preparing for the fire season – The data-driven warning

By | May 16, 2023

The BEYOND operational unit of the Athens National Observatory is in full operational readiness for the current fire season.

According to the BEYOND Center for Earth Observation and Remote Sensing Satellite Sciences, the 2022-2023 winter season is characterized by temperatures higher than normal seasonal levels and a relatively low cumulative amount of rainfall throughout most of the world. the territory.

As highlighted by the BEYOND Center, from the Institute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing of the National Observatory of Athens, the previous findings, combined with the increasing trend of burned areas in our country, are indications of a greater risk of fire in the coming months.

Stylianidis: visited Samos and Ikaria during the fire season

Exercise “Aeneia 2023”, before the fire season, in Hamolia Vravronas [εικόνες]

Athens National Observatory: Weather conditions from September to March are reminiscent of disastrous seasons

In particular, it is pointed out that in the region of Attica and Evia, the meteorological conditions of the winter months (from September to March) recall similar conditions in years where extensive fire disasters occurred (2000, 2012, 2020, 2021) .

“The 2023 fire season finds the services of the BEYOND Center up-to-date and fully operational, with the aim of offering the best possible support to the country’s competent authorities and state agencies, in terms of effectively limiting and managing possible imminent fires catastrophic events The services offered by the BEYOND Center are a powerful tool in the hands of the State and are provided free of charge to the Operations Center of the Fire Department,” the BEYOND Center emphasizes in its statement.

More specifically, the BEYOND Center offers the following original services:

  • Fire detection in real time, throughout Greece (24/7 Real-Time Fire Monitoring service) and continuous monitoring of the evolution of fire fronts, every 5 minutes of the hour at a spatial resolution of 500 m.
  • Rapid satellite detection service of active fire sources and burned areas for Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and the Black Sea (Forest Fire Information System in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Black Sea ).
  • Smoke Dispersal Modeling and Forecasting (Smoke Dispersal Service).
  • Daily, weekly and seasonal delimitation of burnt areas after the disaster with assessment of damage to infrastructure, civil property and the natural environment (diachronic mapping of burnt scars).
  • Forest fire risk prediction service for the next day at a high spatial resolution of 500 meters (Daily Fire Risk Map Prediction). Contrary to the usual forecast estimates that represent risk on a coarse scale, this service is original, as it has been developed with modern artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, which are based on the historical record of fires (FireHub) that we have carried. since 1986, combined with extensive weather and satellite data and provides high-resolution wildfire risk assessment.

You can find more information about the FireHub service here HERE.

In addition, the BEYOND Operational Unit of IAADET/EAA, within the framework of the Program Contract of 03/2021 with the theme “Assessment of risks of earthquakes, fires and floods in the Attica Region” financed by the Attica Region, is conducting research in selected settlements in the region regarding the risk they present, in the event of ignition and spread of fire. The detailed analysis carried out reaches the building block level and is carried out in two stages, office work and field autopsies.

In the first stage, a) the simulation of numerous fire ignition-propagation scenarios is carried out, b) the evaluation and mapping of the vulnerability and exposure of each settlement and c) the final evaluation of the risk of fire. During the second stage, an exhaustive record of the critical points and dangerous characteristics of each settlement is carried out.

Actions and management plans proposed before the fires occur

Finally, actions and management plans are proposed before and during the occurrence of a fire (escape routes, evacuation order, places of refuge, etc.). This research process uses state-of-the-art technologies and data, such as satellite data, machine learning models, etc. The results obtained are collected in a specially designed electronic platform, with the final recipients being the Attica Civil Protection Service. Region, the Fire Department, the technical services of the municipalities and other organisms.

It is highlighted that the IAADET/EAA BEYOND Operational Unit actively supports the Civil Protection Service of the region, as well as all the agencies involved with constant updates, training, awareness campaigns, participation in preparation exercises, etc. A recent example is the participation of the BEYOND team in the planning and successful implementation of the “AINEIAS 2023” forest fire exercise, which took place on April 24, 2023, in the town of Hamolia, in the Municipality of Markopoulos. The selection of the area and the design of the exercise was based on the results of the aforementioned research.

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