3 Nov 2023

Advancing fire risk assessment, reduction, and adaptation: insights from the FirEUrisk project and its application to the Coimbra and Leiria Intermunicipal Communities (Portugal)

The project’s second Pilot Site Demonstration Event took place in Coimbra, Portugal, presenting the wildfire prevention resources developed by the project and tested in the Portuguese pilot site.

The session brought together more than 350 participants, both in-person and online, an audience composed of scientists, local and national authorities, forest landowners, firefighters, civil protection personnel, and other key stakeholders in the management and mitigation of these disasters.

With the works conducted on the Portuguese case study as an example, during the demonstration event, the innovative products and solutions developed within the FirEUrisk project were presented. These products, which are mostly geospatial information, are aimed at supporting the management of rural fires in their various phases. From early warning systems for detecting and predicting fires with greater precision, to fire and smoke propagation models, fuel maps, and risk assessment tools, these solutions can be applied and adapted to the specific needs of any region and help adapt to anticipated scenarios resulting from climate change.

“The most important thing is for the project to develop solutions that endure and are useful” stated FirEUrisk coordinator Dr Domingos Xavier Viegas to the audience during the demonstration event. “We seek to involve each and every one of you in the solution. We want to work with everyone at the European level. And the products and solutions are at your disposal.”

With this goal in mind, the event had an interactive component, where participants were given the chance to comment on the project’s resources. “We sought to gather user opinions,” explains Dr Xavier Viegas. “Instead of traditional question-and-answer sessions, participants were invited to give their opinions using an app. That allowed us to learn, in real time, what users think about each presented solution. Whether it’s practical, and useful, if they will use it or not, and what problems they aim to solve with the help of these tools. The goal is to improve and refine the products based on the results of this dialogue”.

Speaking at the closing act of the event Portugal’s Minister of Internal Administration, José Luís Carneiro, praised the project’s results and acknowledged the benefits it has already brought to fire management in Portugal. Concluding the event with a powerful statement: “It is better for us to overcome fires than for the fires to have the strength to overcome us.”