The classical approach to forest fires involves three stages of the hazard process: Knowledge and Prevention phase, Warning and Crisis phase and Post crisis phase. The most frequently undertaken post-crisis activity is the quick rough assessment of the burned area followed by a more precise definition of the extent of injured area.
The BALU Project (Burned Areas Land Use change detection), financed by the ESA-ESRIN Data User Program, is focused on the definition of a service aimed to provide information for the post fires land use changes.
The service furnishes products by which is possible to:
- Identify the forest burnt areas
- Monitor the burnt areas
- Detect the land use change
By the product furnished, the user is able to detect land cover changes occurring over forest areas which have been affected by a fire event. Specifically the service is able to provide information about the temporal evolution of forest burnt areas, in particular with respect to human intervention and its implication.
he service provided by BALU is integrated into Service Support Environment SSE ESA .
The SSE portal, is part of the eoPortal web site, which provides links to many information sources by allowing the integration of wide range of heterogeneous EO and GIS services including catalogues of products.
SSE BALU is a prototype service designed to provide two different products: Landcover Change Detection maps of the area of interest and Environmental indicators such as Forest Index, Burnt Area Index, Forest Burnt Damage Index and Gravity Index. The first one is a GIS product aimed to detect land cover changes occurring over forest areas which have been affected by the fire event and composed by two thematic layers: Land cover and Changes in Burnt Scars.
The second product is aimed to provide parameters describing damages to forest areas.
Through the ESA Service Support Environment webportal the user can search and select the product, the temporal range and the area of interest from the ESA catalogue and finally he can download the product via an FTP site.
The project has been executed by a team composed by 3 companies and a target user. Planetek Italia as project leader, Intecs and GIM.
ISPRA (former APAT, Italian Environmental Protection Agency) was the target user and assisted to all project activities giving requirements and user perspectives.
This kind of service and its products are useful tools for Civil Protection and generally for all local, regional and national entities that need to update in a practical and fast way the information and that deal with this kind of risks in order to manage the cartography and the related data in short time and to quickly interview if a fire occurs.