An example of a regional web based Geographical Information System which already covers part of the Mediterranean region is the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). EFFIS which was established by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Directorate General for Environment (DG ENV) of the European Commission (EC). Its main objective is
to support the services in charge of the protection of forests against fires in the EU and neighbouring countries, and also to provide the EC services with information on forest fires in Europe.
EFFIS tackles forest fires in Europe in a comprehensive way, providing assessments from pre-fire to post-fire phases, thus supporting fire prevention, preparedness, fire fighting and post-fire evaluations. The countries actively involved in the EFFIS network are currently numbering 24: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
An agreement with the FAO project Silva-Mediterranea was reached to extend the system to all non-EU Mediterranean countries. Up to date some services already cover the Mediterranean coast of the Maghreb countries as well as the northern part of Syria.
Services provided by EFFIS are operated through a web based platform - http://effis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/ - and include fire danger forecasts, active fires detection, fire damage assessment and an EU fires database compiled by EU Member States. The fire danger forecast module of EFFIS generates daily maps, available on the web, of 1 to 6 days projected fire danger level using weather forecast data. The module is active from 1st of March to 31st of October and is fed with meteorological forecast data received daily from French and German meteorological services. Fire danger is mapped in 5 classes (very low, low, medium, high, and very high) with a spatial resolution of about 40 km.
Active fires are located on the basis of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor, on board of the TERRA and ACQUA satellites, which identifies areas on the ground that are distinctly hotter than their surroundings. The difference in temperature between the areas that are actively burning with respect to neighbouring areas allows the identification and mapping of active fires. This module was made available for the first time in 2007 to support the Monitoring and Information Center (MIC) of the European Commission in its activities for coordination of forest fire fighting efforts among the Member States.
In the damage assessment module of EFFIS burned areas are mapped at the end of every fire season. These maps are used in conjunction with the EU-CORINE land cover database to estimate the damage to forests and other land cover types. The EFFIS system was illustrated in detail to the participants to the planned PPRD South study visit to the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) of the European Civil Protection Mechanism.
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