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Preventing and fighting extreme wildfires with the integration and demonstration of innovative means, ID: LC-GD-1-1-2020
Wildfires are among the first contributors to climate change, with up to 20% of total global greenhouse gas emissions per year. Furthermore, the large surfaces burnt cannot absorb so much CO2 any longer, reducing the climate change mitigation potential of carbon sinks. Extreme wildfires are now observed more frequently in higher altitudes and latitudes and further contribute to accelerating climate change by increased black carbon fall-out on ice/snow and by melting of underlying permafrost.
In addition, large wildfires degrade air quality through the direct emissions of toxic pollutants affecting first responders and local residents, while populations in regions far away from the wildfires can be exposed to other pollutants as the air is transported, with short- and long-term impact on human health.

Climate change, certain forestry practices, ecosystem degradation and rural depopulation increase the depth and breadth of wildfires in the EU. Climate change is predicted to increase fire risk, with longer fire seasons, more frequent fire events, new fire-prone regions and more severe fire behaviour. The burnt area in southern Europe during the 21st century would sharply increase. The number of people living near wildland and exposed to high-to-extreme fire danger levels for at least 10 days per year would grow by 15 million with 3°C warming, compared to now. Furthermore, global warming could result in a substantial shift northwards of European ecological domains, making the recovery or re-establishment of non-adapted ecosystems more difficult after a fire. Extreme wildfire events as in Southern Europe in 2017-2018 and in California, Brazil and Australia in 2019, are likely to become common throughout the whole of Europe.

The topic will be implemented through two distinct sub-topics. Proposals should address only one of the following subtopics:

Subtopic 1 (Innovation Actions): Actions funded under this call will speed up the pan-European adaptation process to extreme wildfires by advancing and applying research and innovation, including demonstration pilot sites, while making best use of existing data (e.g. remote sensing, in-situ or community-based data), technologies (e.g. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence) and services (as Copernicus, Galileo and EGNOS).
Innovative means and methods should be developed, integrated and demonstrated in different environments across Europe (including EU Outermost regions) and tailored to geographical and socio-economic conditions, with different types of fuels (e.g. forest/bush /peat fire threats), landscapes and biodiversity values (e.g. coastal/alpine/agriculture/rural/Wild-Urban Interface/islands) and scales (e.g. local/regional /national/cross-border/EU/international).
The approach should be systemic: encompassing different climate scenarios, biogeographical/socio-economic contexts, traditional practices and new means for faster and smarter management of all interconnected fire management phases, i.e. prevention and preparedness (including forecasting and landscape management for impact mitigation, adapting tree species composition and forest management practices), detection and response (including fire containment, extinction, potential evacuation and recovery) and post-fire restoration and adaptation to climate change.

Subtopic 2 (Coordination and Support Action): This action aims to ensure that the demonstration of innovative and integrated approaches fulfils the expected impacts, by coordinating and supporting the Innovation Action projects funded under this topic.

Further information: