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Forest Fires

LABORATORIES > Forest protection

Forest Fire Laboratory

The research of the Forest Fire Laboratory is multifaceted in response to the increasing problems caused by this natural phenomenon, as affected by human activities, to the forest ecosystems of the country. The Laboratory, through its participation in many competitive European and Greek research projects, has addressed the whole spectrum of forest fire management (prevention, suppression and post-fire rehabilitation). Its research accomplishments as well as the knowledge and experience acquired through the cooperation of the Laboratory with operational agencies within Greece and abroad, are widely recognized both within the country and internationally.
The accumulated knowledge of the Laboratory, the results of its research projects, its rich bibliographic collection and the large number of its publications, many of them focusing directly on the support of operational forest fire management, are freely available to State agencies through the Institute website as well as after direct communication with the Laboratory. Furthermore, the Laboratory is often asked to offer its services (participation in committees of experts, training, data offers, etc.) to operational agencies. Also, to the extent possible, the Laboratory offers its cooperation and support to academic establishments, post-graduate students, volunteer groups, private companies as well as to the mass media, through which it tries to disseminate knowledge about forest fires to broad public audiences.

Specific research subjects include:
Forest fire prevention
Forest fire prevention constitutes a basic element of overall fire management. The two main directions of prevention activities have to do a) with influencing the behavior of people, either as single persons or as communities, so that they will not cause fires, or b) with planning and application of technical measures that allow to know about the fluctuation of fire danger in order to set alertness levels, to detect fires as early as possible, to react to the alarm with immediate and commensurate response, and to be prepared in order to mitigate damages. The Laboratory, in cooperation with other research partners, has produced significant work in the field of prevention which includes:
Development and application of a methodology of cooperation of agencies for the prevention of disasters based on ôAgreements on Objectivesö between them (INCA project).of forest fire distribution in Greece for understanding the conditions influencing their appearance and their spatial establishing the daily production of a fire danger prediction map for Greece to which it continues to contribute in every fire season (General Secretariat for Civil Protection).of homes in wildland-urban interface areas for establishing guidelines for avoiding disasters due to fires (WARM project).in the development of presuppression planning systems (FOMFIS, AUTOHAZARD PRO projects), and of systems for automatic fire detection and immediate mobilization (SCIER project)of forest fuels, fuel model development and fuel mapping, and creation of guidelines for vegetation modification aiming to reduce fire hazard (FIREGUARD, FOREST FUELS projects). of forest fuel modification methods for fire hazard reduction at landscape scale as applied around the world (COST FP0701 project).

Forest fire suppression
Forest fire suppression is a complex, demanding and dangerous task that requires maximization of the effectiveness of the firefighting resources. Fire research has contributed significantly in this direction offering knowledge and tools which, when adopted operationally, make firefighting more effective and safe. Some of the most important directions of research on this subject are forest fire behavior prediction, firefighting methods improvement, development of technical solutions and tools (such as specialized computer software) that advance the capacity to fight difficult fires, and the study of the risks that lead to failures, near-misses and fatal accidents.
The Laboratory is actively interested in the whole spectrum of forest fire suppression issues and has produced important results and publications, often in cooperation with other research partners. Some of the topics on which it has worked include:
Forest fire behavior prediction through model development, fuel modeling, and testing of the accuracy of model predictions against field observations in large fire events (FOREST FUELS project).support systems for wildfire suppression (E-FIS, AUTOHAZARD PRO, EUFIRELAB, ─┴Ë╔╩┴╩┴ŇË╔╠┴projects).and analysis of the use of fire as a firefighting tool as well as a tool for forest ecosystems management (prescribed burning).of utilization of fire retardants in firefighting (ACRE, ERAS projects).of a historic database of large forest fires and their suppression in Greece and in the world, and analysis of specific events as case studies for production of conclusions and extraction of lessons to be learned for the future.of fire events that resulted in large disasters and deaths for extraction of lessons to be learned.

Post-fire rehabilitation
The research on the fate of burned forest ecosystems includes efforts to understand their post-fire evolution and the factors affecting it, methods for the protection and management of burned areas aiming on their rehabilitation, the costs involved, and the way in which fire danger changes with time in the regenerating forest. The Laboratory has participated in various projects in this area including:
Assessment of the effectiveness of along-the-contours barriers made of burned tree logs for soil erosion prevention, and establishment of criteria for the need to apply such a treatment, accompanied by a software tool supporting such analysis (PENED project).of the probability of scorched
Pinus halepensis trees survival after a the study carried out by the Institute for the rehabilitation of the burned in 2007 archaeological site of Ancient the study carried out by the Institute for the rehabilitation of the burned in 2007 area of Kaifas lake in Ilia, Peloponnese, Greece.of internationally applied methods for the post-fire rehabilitation and management of burned areas (COST FP0701 project).

General forest fire management subjects
In addition to the above research activities, the Laboratory is interested and works on a series of other subjects that cross horizontally the whole spectrum of forest fire management. Such subjects include:
Financial assessment of the cost of suppression, the cost of damages ans the cost of rehabilitation of burned sites (MASIFF project)prediction and monitoring of the phenomenon of desertification in regard to the influence of forest fires, especially as a result of the high frequency repetition of the circle ôfire - overgrazingö that leads to desertification (DESURVEY project)change effects on all aspects of forest fire management.of remote sensing for better effectiveness and efficiency in forest fire management.



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