In recent years, the frequency of large-scale forest fires has increased significantly owing to a number of factors including the effects of climate change, urbanisation, poor landscape management and malevolent acts. These so-called “Mega-fires” are particularly destructive and difficult to control with the technologies and systems currently available to fire fighters and emergency agencies.
The AF3 project intends to provide an extraordinary improvement to the efficiency of current fire-fighting operations and to the protection of human lives, the environment and property by developing innovative technologies and means to ensure a high level of integration between existing and new systems.
To reach this objective, AF3 project focuses on the following areas:
- Innovative active countermeasure: implementation of the novel AAFF (Advanced Aerial Fire Fighting) system to accurately and safely disperse extinguishing materials from high altitude by aircrafts and helicopters in any condition: day and night, regardless of weather, smoke and configuration of terrain. It will enable a quick 24H response, minimizing fire duration and damages. The AAFF system can be adapted to a wide variety of aircrafts or helicopters.
- Innovative passive countermeasures: fast build-up of preventive defensive lines of capsules to prevent the spreading of fire from forest to populated areas
- Early detection and monitoring: integration and deployment of diverse systems including satellites, aeroplanes, UAVs, and both mobile and stationary ground systems for the early detection of fire and for monitoring the propagation of smoke and toxic clouds.
- Integrated crisis management: the innovative AF3 Core Expert Engine will perform overall coordination of all fire fighting missions. It will integrate three complex systems:
- A Command and Control centre.
- A Risk Analysis Tool (to assess health risks to humans, livestock and infrastructure).
- A Decision Support and Fire Fighting Simulator Lab (to predict progression of the fire and the effectiveness of the active and passive countermeasures).
- Advanced public information channels: smart phones, internet and dedicated broadcasting will be integrated in the global system
The results of AF3 will be validated by intermediate tests during the project, and by a final demonstration with flight tests and drilling exercises carried out simultaneously in Spain, Italy, Greece and Israel.
End Users are fully involved in the project, four of them are members of the consortium and eleven have signed a letter of intent to participate to the Advisory Board. End User organisations will actively participate in all the phases of the AF3 project particularly in the definition of requirements, validation of the technologies and performance evaluation of the proposed solution.
AF3 will meticulously address the ethical and legal issues related to the proposed solutions and will thoroughly assess their impact on human health and the environment.