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Mapping combined wildfire and heat stress hazards to improve evidence-based decision making

Author(s): Claudia Vitolo, Claudia Di Napoli, Francesca Di Giuseppe, Hannah L. Cloke, Florian Pappenberger
Year Published: 2019

Heat stress and forest fires are often considered highly correlated hazards as extreme temperatures play a key role in both occurrences. This commonality can influence how civil protection and local responders deploy resources on the ground and could lead to an underestimation of potential impacts, as people could be less resilient when exposed to multiple hazards. In this work, we provide a simple methodology to identify areas prone to concurrent hazards, exemplified with, but not limited to, heat stress and fire danger. We use the combined heat and forest fire event that affected Europe in June 2017 to demonstrate that the methodology can be used for analysing past events as well as making predictions, by using reanalysis and medium-range weather forecasts, respectively. We present new spatial layers that map the combined danger and make suggestions on how these could be used in the context of a Multi-Hazard Early Warning System. These products could be particularly valuable in disaster risk reduction and emergency response management, particularly for civil protection, humanitarian agencies and other first responders whose role is to identify priorities during pre-interventions and emergencies.

Citation: Vitolo, Claudia; Di Napoli, Claudia; Di Giuseppe, Francesca; Cloke, Hannah L.; Pappenberger, Florian. 2019. Mapping combined wildfire and heat stress hazards to improve evidence-based decision making. Environment International 127:21-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.03.008
Topic(s): Human Dimensions of Fire Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Decisionmaking & Sensemaking
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 19826
FRAMES RCS number: 57492
Record updated: Jul 17, 2019