After three activations for floods in north western Europe in two days in July, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) Rapid Mapping service was activated for wildfires twelve times in the last three weeks. These twelve activations represent almost a third of activations in 2021. These rapid successions of activations may be seen both as a sign of increased used of these space services for emergencies, but also possibly more frequent occurrences of these types of disasters in Europe.
In this article we’ll have a quick look at each of these activations and how they help the emergency management services on the ground. The mapping products are used for firefighting operations and by local authorities for recovery and restoration planning.
The objective of the Emergency Management System is to rapidly provide detailed maps of the extent of wildfires and the damage it has done to the local environment. It will indicate the areas of land damaged by the wildfires, and more importantly, built-up areas that may have been damaged and roads that may be blocked and those that are still accessible, helping emergency services to reach areas that need urgent help.
Copernicus EMS On Demand Mapping provides on-demand detailed information for selected emergency situations that arise from natural or man-made disasters anywhere in the world. This service is split into two main categories:
- Rapid Mapping provides geospatial information within hours or days of a service request in order to support emergency management activities in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. [Link to EMS Rapid Mapping]
- Risk & Recovery Mapping supplies geospatial information in support of Disaster Management activities including prevention, preparedness, risk reduction and recovery phases. [Link to EMS Rapid Mapping]
Early Warning and Monitoring
Copernicus EMS Early Warning and Monitoring offers critical geospatial information at European and global level through continuous observations and forecasts for floods, droughts and forest fires. These services are split into three ’emergency’ categories, each offering several portals to access satellite data:
- Floods – The European Flood Awareness Systems (EFAS) and Global Flood Awareness Systems (GloFAS) provide complementary flood forecast information to relevant stakeholders that support flood risk management at the national, regional and global level.
- Fires – The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) monitors forest fire activity in near-real time. EFFIS supports wildfire management at the national and regional level for EU member states and across the Middle East and North Africa.
- Droughts – The Drought Observatory (DO) provides drought-relevant information and early-warnings for Europe (EDO) and globally (GDO). The service publishes short analytical reports (Drought Reports) in anticipation of an imminent drought.
Twelve activations for wildfires in three weeks
EMSR521 – Fire in Samos Island, Greece (15 July 2021)
A wildfire has raged from Thursday noon (15/07/2021) in the island of Samos, Greece, burning large areas of forest and rural areas. Fuel type and steep relief make the work of firefighters extremely difficult. Kokkari village and two hotels have been evacuated for precautionary reasons. A considerable firefighting effort is ongoing (16/07/2021).
Above map is one of several produced for this island, showing large areas destroyed (brown), damaged (red) or possibly damaged (pink) by the wildfires. The small areas in yellow indicate possibly damaged built-up areas, potentially needed the most urgent attention.
EMSR522 – Fires in Castilla La Mancha, Spain (24 July 2021)
On 07/24/2021, a major forest fire started on a pine forest located in Liétor (Albacete), near the Talave reservoir. This fire mainly affected the municipality of Liétor, Isso and Hellín in Castilla La Mancha . Due to the adverse weather conditions the fire can be active for several days and affect populated areas.
EMSR523 – Fire in Sardegna region, Italy (24 July 2021)
During the morning of July 24, the area near the town of Bonarcado in the province of Oristano, in Sardinia, was affected by large fires that spread very quickly due to several factors including strong southerly winds, high temperatures and vegetation prone to fire. The fires affected farms, crops and houses and led to the evacuation of 800 people. Several ground firefighting teams and regional resources supported by national and regional air resources were deployed.
EMSR524 – Forest and bog fire in Latvia (26 July 2021)
Due to the extreme weather conditions (heat and drought), on 26 July 2021 the forest and bog wildfire broke out in the nature conservation and specially protected area, in the Sigulda municipality, Ledurga parish. The cause of wildfire is unclear as it is scattered in separate locations. The combination of different circumstances, such as hard-to-access conditions, shortage of open-water sources and radio communication troubles in rural area, the situation may worsen.
EMSR525: Fire in Aigialeia Municipality, Western Greece (31 July 2021)
A wildfire is raging from Saturday July 31 noon in Aigialeia Municipality at Western Greece District , burning down large forest, rural and urban areas. The strong winds and high temperatures make the work of firefighters extremely difficult. Logos, Kamares, Lampiri and Ziria villages and a camping with children have been evacuated for precautionary reasons. According to Fire Service 294 firefighters with 77 vehicles are currently operating in the area, assisted by 7 ground force groups, 7 helicopters and 5 planes.
EMSR526 – Fire in Rhodes island, North Aegean District, Greece (1 August 2021)
A wildfire is raging from Sunday 1 August noon in the island of Rhodes, burning down large forest and rural areas. The moderate wind and high flammability of forest fuels due to prolonged draught, make the work of firefighters very difficult. Psinthos village has been evacuated for precautionary reasons. According to the Greek Fire Service, 103 firefighters with 20 vehicles were operating in the area on Sunday 2 August, assisted by 6 ground force group, six (6) helicopters and three (3) planes.
EMSR527 – Wildfires in Greece (4 August 2021)
From Tuesday afternoon wildfires are raging the island of Evia and the north sector of Attica region in Greece, burning down large forests, urban interfaces and rural areas. The moderate wind, high temperatures and high flammability of forest, make the work of firefighters very difficult. Several firefighters with numerous vehicles are currently operating in the affected areas.
EMSR528 – Forest fire in Ancient Olympia Municipality, Western Greece Region, Greece (5 August 2021)
Α wildfire is raging since 4 July 2021 in Ancient Olympia Municipality at Western Greece Region, burning down large forests of pine and rural areas. The fire is active on several fonts. The moderate wind, high temperatures and high flammability of forest fuels make the work of firefighters very difficult. The areas of Ancient Olympia, Pelopio, Platanio, Koskina, Mageiras, Kladeo, Xelidoni, Kaykonia have been ordered to evacuate for precautionary reasons. In the area 174 firefighters with 52 vehicles, assisted by 9 ground force groups, four (4) helicopters and two (2) planes has been deployed. Voluntary firefighters, water tankers and local government machinery provide assistance.
EMSR529 – Wildfires in North Macedonia (5 August 2021)
Wildfires caused by extremely hot weather are raging in parts of North Macedonia, as well as in other countries in Southeast Europe. Firefighters and emergency services are operating in the affected areas in order to contain the fires.
EMSR530 – Wildfire in Fokida, Greece (6 August 2021)
A wildfire is raging from Thursday noon in Central Greece, burning down large forest and rural areas. The moderate wind and high flammability of forest fuels due to prolonged draught, make the work of firefighters very difficult. Elaia and Kallithea villages have been evacuated for precautionary reasons. According to Fire Service 28 firefighters with 10 vehicles are currently operating in the area, assisted by 1 ground force group.
EMSR531 – Wildfire in East Mani, Greece (6 August 2021)
Α wildfire is raging from Thursday in East Mani Municipality at Peloponnese Region, burning down large forests of pine and rural areas. The fire is still active on several fronts. The moderate wind, high temperatures and high flammability of forest fuels, make the work of firefighters very difficult. Several villages have been ordered to evacuate for precautionary reasons after a fire broke out. According to Fire Service 88 firefighters with 25 vehicles are currently operating in the area, assisted by 3 ground force group, one helicopter and two planes.
EMSR532 – Wildfire in Diabolitsi, Greece (6 August 2021)
Α wildfire is raging from Wednesday in Diabolitsi Municipality at Western Greece Region, burning down large forests of pine and rural areas. The fire is still active on several fonts. The moderate wind, high temperatures and high flammability of forest fuels, make the work of firefighters very difficult. The areas, Diabolitsi, Ano Melpeia and Kato Melpeia have been ordered to evacuate for precautionary reasons after a fire broke out. According to Fire Service 36 firefighters with 24 vehicles are currently operating in the area, assisted by 18 ground force firefighters, thirteen helicopters and eight planes.