The project is motivated by the challenging problem of preventing and fighting wildfires in the forests and rural areas of Epirus and Apulia. OFIDIA2 primarily capitalizes on the OFIDIA project of the “2007-2013” programme, yet it covers substantially larger areas in terms of patrolling and monitoring in both regions.
The maintenance of the natural environment is crucial due to the competitive advantages that it offers to the above regions in terms of biodiversity, tourist attraction, sustainable development and protection from natural catastrophes.
OFIDIA2 proposes a pragmatic approach to improve the operational capacity of the stakeholders to detect and fight forest wildfires. It performs “real time” monitoring through sensor data; provides weather forecasts in the two regions; it develops a fire-behavior projection model; it aims at creating a new wildfires control center building in Apulia.
The network will offer real-time environmental monitoring to predict the risks of fire development and the necessary adoption of control strategies. With the help of HD video cameras, wireless sensors networks and drones, the stakeholders will effectively patrol high-danger and remotely located areas.
24 months from 01/04/2018 to 31/03/2020
The overall objective of OFIDIA2 is to increase the cross-border operational capability of the stakeholders to prevent, detect and fight forest wildfires in the eligible area, following on the results of OFIDIA1 project. The partnership aims to protect the biodiversity in sensitive rural areas across the Apulia and the Epirus regions by setting up an operational big data infrastructure. This will allow the forecasting and real-time monitoring of fire-hazard along with the protection of the rural areas by means of a dedicated wildfire control room and specific equipment.
Moreover, the project is aimed at environmental lifelong learning, by raising awareness of especially primary and secondary school students on forest and biodiversity protection.
CMCC is the Lead Beneficiary and will be responsible for the management of the administrative procedures of the project with respect to the Managing Authority. The Lead Beneficiary participates through the Advanced Scientific Computing (ASC) and the Impacts on Agriculture, Forests and Natural Ecosystems (IAFES) Divisions and Ocean Predictions and Applications (OPA). The Lead Beneficiary primarily contributes expertise on data management and applications, weather models, fire danger and behavior modelling.
The expected outputs of the project are:
- The renovation and equipping of the building that will become the Wildfire Control Centre (WCC) in the Apulia region. This will serve as a dedicated control center for the Apulia Region – Civil Protection Section to manage the planning of activities and handling of emergencies that arise from wildfires in Apulia;
- An expanded wireless network consisting of radio equipment, weather stations with environmental sensors, and remotely-controlled video cameras to support and enhance the real-time monitoring and patrolling capabilities over rural areas, natural and regional parks. The new cameras and sensors will allow an effective monitoring of 18 sites in the eligible area (10 in the Apulia region and 8 in the Epirus one) belonging to the NATURA 2000 protected areas;
- Two off-road vehicles to improve the accessibility to the patrolled areas as well several drones to increase the operational capabilities of the stakeholders to effectively protect high-danger and remotely located areas;
- Computing and data management facilities to let stakeholders access precision weather forecasts custom-developed for the eligible area and manage large volumes of forecasted and measured data to obtain insightful support for operational fire-fighting decisions. The forecasts will be based on the state-of-the-art Weather Research and Forecasting model to encompass boundary conditions from real-time sensor measurements for improved prediction accuracy in the forest fields;
- Development and evaluation of state-of-the-art fire-behavior models for operational fire-fighting in the Apulia region;
- Environmental lifelong learning to raise awareness of the local population of Apulia on forest protection, with special regard to primary and secondary schools.
Following the main objective, the project specific goals are:
- substantially expanding the operational infrastructure of the cross-border area in terms of environmental monitoring sensors, video equipment and off-road vehicles for real-time patrolling of the forest, enhanced visualization systems of weather and fire-danger parameters, ICT equipment for data analysis and storage, as well as the renovation of the building that will become the Wildfire Control Center in Modugno (BA);
- enhancing and improving the cross-border capability of forecasting, preventing and fighting forest wildfires through tools to accurately predict the weather, model the fire behavior, visualize the sensor data in real-time and manage complex fire-danger factors over geographical maps;
- promoting public knowledge and providing cross-border education and lifelong learning on the biodiversity of the target areas, as well as sharing best practices across an expanded list of stakeholders.
- Fondazione CMCC – Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (Coord)
- DAEWM – Decentralized Administration of Epirus-Western Macedonia, Forest Directorate
- University of Ioannina
- Apulia Region – Civil Protection Section
- Municipality of Lecce
- ARIF – Regional Agency for Irrigation and Forest Activities