DATE2016-06-02 12:08:15
AUTHORSKonstantina Tourtsinaki (1), Anna Karali (1,2), Panagiotis T. Nastos (1), Maria Hatzaki (1), Christos Giannakopoulos (2), Akli Benali (3)
  1. Laboratory Of Climatology And Atmospheric Environment, Department Of Geology And Geoenvironment, National And Kapodistrian University Of Athens Athens (Greece)
  2. Institute For Environmental Research And Sustainable Development, National Observatory Of Athens Athens (Greece)
  3. Centro De Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior De Agronomia, Universidade De Lisboa Lisbon (Portugal)
ABSTRACTWildfires, as integral earth system processes, play an important role in terrestrial ecosystems and in light of the warming climate it is crucial to understand their controlling factors. Fire danger is a term used to describe the assessment of both the static and dynamic factors of the fire environment which determine the ease of ignition, rate of spread, difficulty of control and impact of a fire. Here, a fire danger assessment is attempted for the island of Crete, an eastern Mediterranean environment that exhibits increased vulnerability to wildfires. The static factors are the morphological and topographical features, as the land use/land cover, inclination, aspect, settlement, landfills, proximity to roads, elevation, high voltage lines (from Corine Landcover-CLC2000,, and ADMIE databases). Each factor is distributed in five severity levels, and then, a static danger assessment module is constructed by combining all factors with different given weighting, based on proposed guidelines for wildfires prevention. The exposure to fire danger, as a function of meteorological conditions, is considered as the dynamic factor and it is assessed by the Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI). FWI is a daily meteorologically-based index used worldwide, including the Mediterranean, to estimate fire danger. It is based solely on weather observations, obtained for this study from the ERA-Interim reanalysis datasets on a 0.125°x0.125° grid. Both static and dynamic factors are then combined to build an integrated danger assessment module. Furthermore, in order to support the best practices in forest fire prevention, information regarding water supply spots, fireguard stations, and heliports is added in the module. For the evaluation of the module, MODIS active fire product (MCD14ML) that provides information about the location of fires burning at the time of satellite overpass is used. Active fire data are screened for non-vegetation fires and aggregated at a 0.11°x 0.11° grid-box level for the 2003-2014 period. It is found that the combination of both controlling factors correlates well with the active fires in Crete, thus, enabling the use of this integrated fire danger assessment module in other regional studies in the eastern Mediterranean. Acknowledgment: We kindly acknowledge the Regional Administration of Fire Service of Crete and the Fire Service Department of Rethimnon for providing the fire prevention data.