Sep 24, 2016

EFI conducted a one-day training seminar entitled “Basic Vegetation Fire Management” for the Fire Service of Appenweier.

Sep 8, 2016

Wildfire Week in Barcelona, Spain, between the 31st January and the 3th February 2017

Apr 4, 2016

German news article

Mar 4, 2016

organised by INRA, Arcachon, France, 27-30 October 2015

© 2014 FRISK-GO


Severe windstorm hits Catalonia

Dec 15, 2014

Last Tuesday's windstorm in Catalonia, with its most severe damages in the Barcelona region, is the worst since 2009.

It lead to power cuts to around 43,000 homes while roads and train lines were affected causing long delays for commuters and travellers. Latest information is that there have been three fatalities mainly due to falling debris in residential areas. Currently Catalonia is tallying up the damage by the winds showing gale force peaking at more than 200 km/h.

Figure 1. The most severe hit area was along the coast of Catalonia.

According to the Fire Service of Catalonia the most affected areas are Valles oriental, Valles occidental, Anoia, Bages, Baix Llobregat and Barcelones comarcas with damage to infrastructure but also to forests. Based on preliminary assessments most of the damage caused by the windstorm is concentrated in the ‘Urban-Wildland-Interface’ with more than 300,000 people and their homes affected. Further adjacent forests including many areas used for recreation were damaged.

The number of single incidents responded to by fire services in the first 6 hours following the storm were as many as 2589 (Source: Catalan Fire Service). Immediate measures focus at present on recovering power lines, clearing blocked roads and railroads lines, removing trees having damaged residential homes and businesses in order to reduce further risks of casualties.

Figure 2. Storm damages in urban areas following the  windstorm of 11.12 .2015 in Catalonia

The project, FRISK-GO, investigates the feasibility of a ‘European Forest Risk Facility’. It is implemented by the Central European Regional Office of the European Forest Institute. FRISK-GO took contact with its established networks in the region to get latest updates on actions and damage figures. Reconnaissance flights took place during 12 – 13.12.2014 allowing for a more comprehensive calculation and quantification of the occurred damages. The Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia (, being a FRISK-GO network partner, is preparing a detailed damage assessment report and corresponding maps. Those will be provided to FRISK-GO project team for further distribution through appropriate communication channels. First figures received on 15.12.2014 account for a total of about 1500 ha of damages forest area. 378ha are reported with 90% of all trees damaged, 714ha with more 60% and 358ha with less than 60% severely damaged.

Figure 3. Storm damages forest areas as result of the windstorm of 11.12 .2015 in Catalonia

“According to a first expert consultation with fire experts, the damaged forest stands are expected to contribute to increased fuel loads for the coming fire season which starts during May/June 2015. This is especially critical as the build up has taken place in the Urban-Wildland-Interface with several hundred thousand people living n the affected area”, says Marc Castellnou, Head of Fire Operations in Catalonia and senior researcher in the FRISK-GO project. “Of concern is also the susceptibility of damaged stands to insect outbreaks, which may also add to the fuel load. Especially Tomicus piniperda (common pine shoot beetle) can be expected to create serious problems”, he continues.

Representatives of FRISK-GO will attend a planned management meeting of regional authorities in Barcelona on the 18.12.2014. If requests are formulated during the meeting, FRISK-GO will act in the role of a ‘European Forest Risk Facility’ and contact forest risk networks e.g. to provide and share expertise with local authorities, or to support professional exchanges to the affected areas. This approach has been successfully implemented for the severe ice storm that occurred in February 2014 in Slovenia. FRISK-GO organised an exchange of experts programme between Slovenia and Germany. Thus the FRISK-GO project is acting as a testing ground for a portfolio of products and services which a future European Forest Risk Facility could provide. That includes access to expert networks, facilitating and conducting research studies and enhancing knowledge exchange in order to support authorities such as in Catalonia in their strategic planning following the current windstorm.

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Photos: provided by Marc Castellnou