Developing a Global Early Warning System for Wildland Fire

Report Date: January 2006

Increased wildfire activity has been reported in many global regions and many of the wildfires have had serious negative impacts on life, health, economy, climate, and ecosystems. An early warning system could mitigate fire-related problems and improve wildfire management. Daily weather data supplemented by satellite and spectral information are used for a fire danger rating and a 4-6 hour early warning of fire danger. This paper proposes Global Early Warning System for wildland fires that uses forecasted weather data to provide as much as two weeks of advanced early warning capabilities.


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  • International Conference on Forest Fire Research

    The Conference provides an update on the developments in forest fire science and technology and an opportunity to meet persons and institutions to promote cooperation in research and management. This conference follows previous editions that have been held every four years since 1990, in Coimbra, Portugal.

    The scope of the conference is mainly:

    • To bring together scientists and practitioners from various parts of the world working on different aspects of forest fires
    • To encourage the presentation and discussion of recent advances in scientific research and technical development
    • To present new management methodologies
    • To present results from pilot experiments
    • To promote international cooperation

    The themes that are focused on during the Conference are related to Human and Institutional factors, Forest management and Fire Prevention, Fire at the Wildland Urban Interface, Forest Fire Risk assessment and Climate Change, Fire Detection and Monitoring, Remote Sensing, Fire Management, Fire, Suppression and New technologies, Large Fires, Fire Safety, Economic Issues, Fire Ecology and Evaluation and management of burned areas. These themes are not restricted and they are open to other subjects that are proposed, as well.

  • Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada

    The Canadian Forest Service is the national and international voice for the Canadian forest sector. It is part of Natural Resources Canada, a federal government department.

    The CFS provides science and policy expertise and advice on national forest sector issues, working in close collaboration with the provinces and territories.

  • Global Fire Monitoring Center, Freiburg University

    Following the recommendations of the UN-ECE/FAO/ILO Seminar Forest, Fire and Global Change (Russia 1996) and a number of international conferences the UN- ECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire proposed the establishment of an institution which at that time was preliminarily designated as a Global Fire Management Facility. On the basis of these recommendations the Government of Germany through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, in June 1998 provided initial funding for the establishment of such an entity which was designated Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC). The GFMC was inaugurated at the FAO Meeting on Public Policies Affecting Forest Fires (Rome, October 1998) and is in line with the:

    • Objectives of the UN International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) and its follow-up arrangement UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), financed by the Foreign Office of Germany;
    • Objectives of work of the UN-FAO/ECE/ILO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire;
    • Recommendations of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and various scientific and policy conferences;
    • Policies of the UNESCO, the World Bank, Disaster  Management Facility (DMF), and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), expressed by the co-sponsorship of these organizations;
    • Research agendas and co-sponsorship of international science programmes devoted to Global Change Research: The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), and the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA).

    The GFMC provides a global portal for wildland fire documentation, information and monitoring and is publicly accessible through the Internet. The regularly updated national to global wildland fire products of the GFMC are generated by a worldwide network of cooperating institutions. The online and offline products include:

    • Early warning of fire danger and near-real time monitoring of fire events
    • Interpretation, synthesis and archive of global fire information
    • Support of local, national and international entities to develop long-term strategies or policies for wildland fire management, including community-based fire management approaches and advanced wildland fire management training for decision makers 
    • Serve as advisory body to the UN system through the coordination of the UN-ISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group and the ISDR Global Wildland Fire Network
    • Emergency hotline and liaison capabilities for providing assistance for rapid assessment and decision support in response to wildland fire emergencies under cooperative agreements with UN-OCHA, Emergency Services Branch and the WSSD Environmental Emergencies Partnership.
  • Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Weather Forecasting Group

    The Bureau of Meteorology is Australia's national weather, climate and water agency. Its expertise and services assist Australians in dealing with the harsh realities of their natural environment, including drought, floods, fires, storms, tsunami and tropical cyclones. Through regular forecasts, warnings, monitoring and advice spanning the Australian region and Antarctic territory, the Bureau provides one of the most fundamental and widely used services of government.

    The Bureau contributes to national social, economic, cultural and environmental goals by providing observational, meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic services and by undertaking research into science and environment related issues in support of its operations and services.

  • Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre

    The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre was established under the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program. The CRC Program is an Australian Government initiative. The Bushfire CRC is no longer receiving Commonwealth funding and is no longer a part of or associated with the CRC Program.

    The Bushfire CRC conducted research into the social, environmental and economic impacts of bushfires.

    After an initial grant through the Australian Government’s CRC program in 2003 combined with substantial partner resources, the Bushfire CRC was now funded to Jue 2014 to address key issues raised by major fires.

    The Bushfire CRC was made up of all the fire and land management agencies in Australia and New Zealand, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Attorney General's Department and several other fire related organisations.

de Groot, William J., Johann G. Goldammer, Tom Keegan, Michael A. Brady, Tim J. Lynham, Christopher O. Justice, Ivan A. Csiszar, and Kevin O’Loughlin. Developing a Global Early Warning System for Wildland Fire. Fifth International Conference on Forest Fire Research, 2006.

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