European forecasters discuss plans for EU-wide wildfire response service

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The EU is pushing ahead with plans to create a 24/7 European multi-hazard virtual advice service for natural disasters.

Experts from four European research and forecasting centers met early this month (February) to forge plans for the wildfire hazard component of the service, which is being developed as part of the EU-funded ARISTOTLE-ENHSP, a project aimed at providing multi-hazard advice to the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).

The fire hazard component is being developed by Météo-France, the Portuguese national meteorological service (IPMA), the CIMA Research Foundation (Italy) and the UK-based European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Francesca Di Giuseppe, the project lead at ECMWF, which hosted the February meeting, said the four parties had agreed a standardized procedure and format for supplying the fire hazard reports to the ERCC.

Di Giuseppe said, “The plan is for Météo-France, IPMA and CIMA to take it in turns to produce fire hazard monitoring reports three times a week in a consistent format. These will be made available to the ERCC operationally from May this year as part of wider multi-hazard reports.”

For its part, the ECMWF will provide relevant meteorological data, such as drought indices, as well as making available to the project partners its ecCharts interactive web chart platform, so that they can ingest other relevant products to support fire management in their own countries.

The ERCC is part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which coordinates emergency help to countries hit by natural disasters both within and outside the EU.

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