Published On: May 4, 2023

5th FirEUrisk plenary meeting in Lleida: Shifting from strategy to action

The FirEUrisk consortium came together in March for a bi-annual general meeting in Lleida, Spain. On the brink of the upcoming – and in some countries, already ongoing – wildfire season, our partners discussed the recent advances and next steps of the project.

After two years of fruitful collaboration and with two years of work yet to come, the 5th plenary meeting in Lleida provided the perfect timing to start looking beyond the duration of the project and into its palpable outcomes. While during the first half of the project the focus has been on generating and analysing data regarding the diverse factors that impact wildfire risk, the remaining years will center around putting these findings into practice in real-life settings.

The keyword of the 3-day meeting was integration: how to unify the various aspects, data, and concepts explored in the project into one comprehensive wildfire risk management strategy. The aim is that the strategy can be implemented in different countries and areas around Europe to best protect communities and landscapes from the devastating effects of wildfires.

Testing in pilot sites puts the project solutions into practice

One of the main topics discussed in Lleida was the implementation of the developed models and tools in the project’s 5 pilot sites around Europe. These solutions support predicting the behaviour of wildfires as well as communities’ exposure to them. The first pilot site demonstration events will take place during 2023, ideally bringing together various end-users: land and forest managers, first responders, and researchers, among others.

Photo: David Caballero

The progress of another key outcome of the project, an open online platform containing the datasets developed in FirEUrisk for holistic wildfire risk management, was also discussed in the meeting. The open platform will be published towards the end of the project, and is currently being tested by the project partners.

Taking in the devastating consequences of the Solsonés wildfires

In addition to the project progress presentations, the partners had the chance to visit the area of Solsonés in Central Catalonia that was affected by drastic wildfires in 1998, with more than 25.000 hectares burnt in just 3 days.

We also had the pleasure of hearing keynote speeches from three stakeholders of FirEUrisk: the Natural Hazards Research Australia, the Forest Ownership Centre of Catalonia (Centro de la Propiedad Forestal de Catalunya, CPF), and the Oficina Tècnica de Prevenció Municipal d’Incendis Forestals i Desenvolupament Agrari of the Provincial Deputation of Barcelona (Diputació de Barcelona), who shared insight into their existing forest fire management strategies and future needs.

A huge thank you to our invitees, everyone who attended the meeting, and our partners from the University of Lleida for the excellent organisation!

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