Every summer thousands of acres of forests are destroyed in Europe, as
elsewhere in the world, by forest fires. European countries with warmer
climates, such as the new ESA Member State Portugal, are particularly
hard hit. The result is considerable environmental and economic damage
and, regrettably, sometimes loss of lives.

A new one-year contract, awarded by ESA to the Portuguese company
Critical Software, will help to combat these fires, many of which
unfortunately are caused by arsonists. Critical Software, together with
the sub-contractor CNIG, the Portuguese National Centre for Geographic
Information, will be responsible for improving the existing fire-
prevention system by creating an easy-to-use demonstration system for
fire risk assessment called PREMFIRE.

PREMFIRE will expand the capabilities of RISE, the system presently
used by Portugal’s Civil Protection agency (SNPC). Remote sensing data
will be used to generate and integrate fire risk maps and the system
will automatically send alarms to fire units located within range of
the major areas at risk. Fire fighters in the field will be able to
receive and exchange data supplied by Earth observation satellites in
near real time on hand-held terminals.

Once the system is fully developed and in use, the Portuguese emergency
services will be able to reach and deal with fires much quicker.
Premfire will help to save lives and assist the Portuguese authorities
to protect their natural heritage.

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Related links



* Critical software