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The combined use of space technologies provides a new perspective in the management of large event situations or natural disasters. ESA's REMSAT concept is being applied in Spain in the framework of the REMFIRESAT contract. The objective of REMFIRESAT is to demonstrate the use of satellite technologies in an emergency situation such as uncontrolled wildfire's.
The system, designed following a user driven approach, is to be validated though a comprehensive pilot demonstration that will check the benefits of the application under real crisis situations.
The main satellite technologies to be exploited in the REMFIRESAT system are:
The satellite systems will work in a synergetic manner with the ground facilities, reaching a more efficient utilisation of available technology.
The initial REMFIRESAT concept envisages handheld terminals, vehicle terminals, a set of Command Centres at user premises and a mobile satellite communication centre to be located close to the fire.
Click here for larger image
Space technology can offer high value information to managers throughout the decision-making chain, from a high-level manager to an in-field fire-fighter.
The goal is to provide the communication lines with the ability to transfer information from the sources to the location of the managers in a hierarchical and processed manner. Apart from conventional voice and fax capabilities, the information which needs to be dealt with includes: digital data, imagery and positioning of capabilities.
The figure below sketches the architecture of the REMFIRESAT system. The different bodies involved are equipped with data gathering terminals or computers and the appropriate communication equipment to form the system network through which the voice and digital data are transferred. Some of the REMFIRESAT features are already present or have equivalent performance to current resources. For those cases, REMFIRESAT will be fully compatible with those existing systems.
Apart from being a voice-based system, REMFIRESAT will provide positioning information for all mobiles. This short data is usually transferred by using short messages that can also be used to communicate standard sentences, panic buttons, etc. The third new feature is extensive utilisation of remote sensing data, which is embedded in the system through a dedicated processing centre, the 'External Data Gateway' (EDG).
The REMFIRESAT system is to be present at all scales in the fire-fighting structures. This implies installing equipment at user premises, air and ground vehicles and even portable terminals.
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The system is being developed in the province of Salamanca, in the Castilla y León region of Spain, and will be carried out in several phases:
The project is planned to end around Oct 2003.
During summer 2003, the forest-fire services of the Spanish region of Castilla y León were the pilot users of the REMFIRESAT experience, a system whose aim was to demonstrate how space technology can be used and help users in forest-fire fighting activities. The pilot demonstration was a success, and the environmental services of Junta de Castilla y León expressed their intention to continue with the programme.
Current results are still being collected, but preliminary results can be offered over the basis of the official data collected from 30th June to 18th August.
Table 1: Hot Spot result (current available data)
Total Hot Spots
Valid Hot Spots
Possible Hot Spots
Not validated (possible hot
45 (67.15 %)
9 (13.43 %)
13 (19.42 %)
|Figure 1: Burnt Area map over |
|Figure 2: Map of clouds over |
Castilla y León (MSG)