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Operational monitoring and assessment of the forest fire danger using EO imagery


Project duration: 2013 to 2015

Project manager: Jana Slačíková

Timely detection of the forest fire is a key factor in the effort of minimizing losses of human lives, properties and forest ecosystems. The detection of forest fires in the Czech Republic is provided by airborne patrols. Currently, the airborne patrol dispatch and routing is based only on meteorological forecasts or local situation knowledge. Forests are not specifically monitored by any service.

The objective of the SAFETREE (Satellite Support to Forest Fires Airborne Patrol) project, coordinated by Gisat, was to design, develop and verify an operational forest monitoring service in order to support forest fire danger assessment in the Czech Republic. The cause of fire ignition is frequently related to human activity; therefore it is not possible to estimate the risk of fire ignition from the remote sensing data. On the other hand, there is possible to estimate areas and conditions that are prone to fast fire propagation in forests from the satellite images. These conditions are related with severe consequences. The fire propagation danger is the main part of the SAFETREE fire danger assessment.

Moisture condition of vegetation is one of the most important parameters in the forest fire danger assessment. Satellite images provided in high temporal resolution enable monitoring of moisture of the forest vegetation due to sensitivity of specific part of spectrum to water absorption. SAFETREE final maps of the fire danger are provided in the spatial resolution of 500 m and temporal resolution of 8 days and serve as background materials for improved airborne patrol dispatch and routing. Designed service applies two space domains – Earth Observation (EO) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). EO provides relevant data for deriving of forest vegetation moisture content and enables assessment of associated fire danger. Navigational data enable flight paths optimization.

SAFETREE project was supported by the ESA ARTES 20 Programme.


Gisat was founded in 1990 as a first Czech company providing geoinformation services in the area of remote sensing. The company is oriented on complex and innovative services within the domain of remote sensing and GIS. The wide scope of services is based on partnerships with all major Earth observation satellite data providers. Gisat has extensive long-term experiences with leadership of international projects, as well as a solid knowledge of the user needs, especially in agriculture, environment and spatial planning, that may be met by remote sensing.

Sprinx Systems

Sprinx Systems is one of leading Czech technology companies - established in 1996. Three divisions focus on development, distribution and implementation of business systems and portals completely based on modern Internet/intranet technologies, security and infrastructure consulting and building special high performance computers

What would you name as main benefits of the project to you and your company?

“SAFETREE Feasibility Study provided unique opportunity to design practical service that takes into account the technical limitations related to acquisition and processing of satellite imagery and, at the same time, addresses the requirements of the users. Compared to the meteorological point-measurements, remote sensing enables to map the spatial variability of the moisture conditions of vegetation in forests in regional scale. The selected fuel moisture indicator has been tested specifically for forests and for conditions of the Czech Republic. SAFETREE is designed for actual and objective information providing for decision making in the field of forests protection.”