The European Union, year after year, is being hit by forest fires. This puts European citizens at risk and causes tremendous costs economically and to nature and wildlife. Therefore 55 partners, with support of the European Commission, have joined forces in a project for rapid mapping of places at risk via satellites (SAFER project). This common project is a part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, one of the two independent European space capacities.
In first priority, SAFER concentrates on rapid mapping during the response phase, with a response time objective of six hours after the emergency situation for the provision of reference mapping, and of 24 hours for the provision of assessment maps to assist fire fighters and other emergency and civil protection services on the ground in their rescue operations, speeding up the fight against forest fires. The gathering of such information would otherwise have to happen manually and be more time consuming and difficult. The SAFER-project has already proved to be useful in the fight against forest fires around Marseilles and the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia. SAFER is one of the first tangible results of GMES.