Support tools

Guidelines for flood and fire civil protection planning with participatory approach with an operational tool for collecting citizens monitoring observations in emergengy plans

In the framework of the RECIPE project, CIMA Research Foundation will produce two operative tools for reinforcing civil protection capabilities in the context of climate change: the guidelines for flood and fire civil protection planning with participatory approach and an operational tool for collecting citizens monitoring observations in emergency situations.

  • The first one will be an operative protocol, useful for implementing a local participatory process for Civil Protection planning. It will be a booklet containing a roadmap for developing the different steps of a participatory process, most suited to the local conditions. These operative guidelines will be written on the basis of a participatory process implemented in the pilot case and will be addressed to the CP stakeholders and Municipal administrators and technicians.  
  • The second one will be a mobile operational tool for supporting key citizens in collecting floods and fires monitoring observations. This tool will be integrated into pre-existing systems for the emergency management at local level and will be tested in the pilot case. This tool could help implementing a more suited and tailored local actions for coping with a local emergency.

The idea behind these tools is that the participatory process for CP planning would reinforce the capacity of the civil protection to cope with future natural hazards since it would develop a “social” ground, able to produce an improvement in future risk governance, “making ” the local community and technicians more aware of their territory – in terms of its needs, vulnerability and opportunities – and of their role for better managing it, also by collaborating for preventing future risks.

In this way, referring to the Disaster Management Cycle, the CP planning could be seen as a tool of Preparedness, but also of Prevention and Mitigation, focusing on understanding and dealing with impacts of disasters and emergencies.

As pilot case, a group of 5 coastal municipalities (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore) called “Cinque Terre”, located in Liguria Region (Italy) and two neighboring municipalities (La Spezia and Levanto), have been chosen.

The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area is a popular tourist’s destination and its landscape consists of terraces, built by the people in the past centuries for having the opportunity to cultivate and farm, and so survive in this hard territory.

These operas gradually have changed the ecosystem and in recent years, the abandonment of the farming and the rural exodus have weakened the important role of the terraces in terms of water retention, producing an increasing of flash flood risk. Moreover, the agricultural abandonment itself and the chronic lack of forest management have favored the new colonization of pines, that hand by hand are going down in the abandoned terraces, incrementing the forest fire risk. The pines presence from one side and the abandonment of the terraces from the other side produce a fragile equilibrium, that is easily threaten after a wildfire or a heavy rain.

All these elements are producing a high flash flood and WUI fire risks. To give an idea, the flood occurred in the 2011 affected all the villages of the Cinque Terre territory, with a damage that amounted to millions of euros and 13 people died.

In the pilot case, a participatory process with the local community will be implemented for identifying the best CP actions able to deal with the flood and fire risks, at the actual situation but also with a perspective of climate change and future risk scenarios.

The potential stakeholders that will be engaged in the process will be the local economic stakeholders such as tourist operators and national transport operators like the company of public national trains.


Decision support for sustainable multi-hazard risks management

Climate change is making the multifactorial issue of natural hazard management even more complex. All decision-making processes in connection with natural-spatial measures, but also all preventive strategies in the area of ​​civil protection, must therefore deal with great uncertainties.

As part of the RECIPE project, the BFW will investigate tasks related to rockfall and landslide processes. The involvement of those responsible stakeholders for civil protection measures as early as the risk assessment of these natural hazard processes should make a significant contribution to better preparation for the occurrence of damage events and thus better coping with their effects in the event of a disaster.

For this purpose, the BFW will develop operational recommendations, guidelines and tools for the integration of assessments derived from natural hazard risk management into decision support systems (DSS) in the field of civil protection facilities.

Starting points for this are the identification of the main effects of climate change on risk management of rockfall and landslides and the analysis of existing Decision Support Systems (DSS) and platforms that are used in the risk management of civil protection institutions. This will make it possible to derive and define the requirements of civil protection institutions for preventive civil protection.

The guidelines developed for the integration of climate scenarios in Decision Support Systems of civil protection institutions are published on the RECIPE website together with all technical reports and summarized in a manual with guidelines for the purposes of civil protection.


Guidelines for a participatory crisis management plan to manage wind throw along roads

Storms have implications that exceed the forest sector. They can also affect critical infrastructure and civil protection, power supply, communication and transport lines. Fallen trees will damage and block roads leading through forest areas. Direct and indirect economic damages and negative human impacts (health, loss of lives, livelihoods) are the consequence. Next to the immediate threat of being hit by a fallen tree, the clearing and restoration of traffic safety and functioning of roads can take substantial efforts and tie up capacities of emergency services that may be missing in other places.

Well-prepared coordination and prioritization of activities is required and emergency management can benefit largely from planning and training prior to such an event. However, to date crisis management plans for storm related impacts along roads rarely exist at municipal or district level in Germany.

Developing a participatory crisis management plan for one district, which brings together all involved and affected agencies to manage risk of wind throw along roads, will substantially increase local coping capacities as well as general risk awareness among officials and within authorities.

The plan will be developed in close cooperation with the district administration (Landratsamt) and associated departments, civil protection agencies and emergency services, the forest administration, forest owners, managers and contractors, as well as associations, NGOs and media. The case-study will describe the process to develop a joint crisis management plan for an exemplary district in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Insights and lessons learned will be shared and guidelines on how to develop similar plans in other regions established.


Support tool and guidelines for integrated risk assessment and planning for landscape and wild-land urban interface

Understanding wildfire risk as a component of the territory, in the Mediterranean the fire has been in our landscapes from centuries: by natural ignitions (lightings after storms), as a tool in rural areas (burning for cleaning the vegetation) and, more recently due to the land use changes, as a hazard (high intensity fires burning all forests in large surfaces). This last “bad face” of fires is being exacerbated by climate change, increasing the availability of landscapes to burn.

One of the main worries in parallel with the forest conservation is the potential impact of those extreme fires on citizens and houses and, therefore, how to improve the civil protection during the emergency. How to live with wildfire risk under a climate change context in a sustainable manner? Within the pilot sites, an integrative approach will be developed, aimed at optimise the synergies between prevention, preparedness, response and recovery actions, tackling together not only the physical but also the social vulnerability reduction. This will offer a frame where the activities of the territory are embedded into the Risk Management Cycle from a cost-efficient and resilient community perspective. 

On that sense, community involvement is a crucial issue considering the exposed population as a proactive actor of the Disaster Risk Reduction strategies. This pilot site will serve to adapt successful participatory approaches developed in other countries (e.g. Firewise USA® or Safer Together approach in Australia) to the regional conditions. This integrated and bottom-up approach will serve to deliver operational recommendations for risk reduction considering all the legal, financial, social and cultural components, and to enhance the risk governance in the territory in a sustainable manner.



Protocol for wildfire and avalanche risk management in mountain areas

Climate change is posing new multi-hazard situations. One of them is the extension of wildfire risk in mountain areas. This can generate a cascade effect since the fire can destroy the forest cover and the protection function is jeopardized. Should be this a new worry for mountain areas in Europe? Does the knowledge about wildfires and risk management exist or available in those areas? Is it possible to merge in a common risk assessment and planning protocol the fire and avalanche multi-hazard situation?

A practical exercise analysing the physical factors of avalanche and wildfire risk will be developed, taking advantage of the long experience in the matter on avalanche in the Pyrenees and Alps, and about wildfires in the Mediterranean basin. Data analysis will serve to test their integration in a joint spatial risk assessment in terms of data availability, robustness methodologies and replicability, taking into account the climate change impacts. The factors influencing the exposition and vulnerability will be discussed with the aim of deliver operational recommendations to design risk mitigation actions in prevention, preparedness, response and recovery phases, for a joint DRM analysis, to enhance the protection of citizens, infrastructures and environmental services.




Visualizer tool for managing emergency situations in case of high avalanche risk

The main task of the Avalanche Warning Service of the ICGC (UPA) during the winter season is the avalanche forecasting. Daily the UPA carries out the avalanche bulletin according to the European avalanche danger scale of 5 degrees (from 1 low up to 5 very high). In case of esteemed danger such as level 4 high or 5 very high the UPA carry out special warnings (APA) addressed to Civil Protection exclusively as established in the special civil protection plan ALLAUCAT.

The two main objectives in the frame of the project are: 1) improvement of the forecasting issues in critical situations which involves risk and the attainment of APA and 2) supply a tool to help in the process of decision making.

  1. The analysis and the assessment of major avalanches occurred in the past and the prediction of new scenarios will allow to refine the APA fulfilment and risky scenarios. Thus, the participation in the project will allow to update the major avalanche scenarios in the Pyrenees of Catalonia in the frame of climate change. A special focus on vulnerable sites will be done in order to increase the safety and to improve the forecasting for critical situations and the issue of APA.

On the other hand, there is a tool for the process of avalanche forecasting that allows the assessment of the snowpack stability in a systematic risk based workflow. The Platform of information of avalanche Hazard called PIPA is a tool that enables the daily forecasting by using the conceptual model to asses snowpack stability. The platform is made up of different levels that are defined as follows. Levels 10 and 11 make up the tool.

  • First level: access into the application using a user and password for each forecaster, selection of the snow-climate zone to be assessed, date of realization and date of validity of the forecasting.
  • Second level: definition of the scope and the scale of forecasting.
  • Third level: input of the main snow and weather data.
  • Fourth level: definition and ranking of the snowpack layers that have the main role in the stability.
  • Fifth level: Definition of the avalanche situation (problems) associated with the layers defined in the previous stage.
  • Sixth level: Definition of avalanche triggering probability according to the spatial distribution (elevations, orientations and spots in danger) and the sensitivity to triggers for each one of the problems defined in the previous stage.
  • Seventh level: danger diagram showing the avalanche triggering probability in relation to the expected avalanche size.
  • Eighth level: stage where each predictor writes additional comments to monitor the avalanche situation.
  • Ninth level: forecasted danger degree for the next 24 hours and its trend for the 48 and 72 hours. It includes the level of confidence level according to the number of data, level of experience, level of reliability of weather forecasting, among others.
  • Tenth level: outline of the situation with the visualization of the most relevant features of the previous levels. This summary is used as a communication tool for the different stakeholders: civil protection, observers and forecasters prior to the issue of APA or BPA.
  • Eleventh level: definition of the critical situation that would rely on the outline and the most similar major avalanche pattern and the forecasted avalanche activity with a map.

Map of the forecasted avalanche activity (pointed with an orange symbol) according to an specific synoptic pattern



European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia
Pau Costa Foundation
General Directorate of Civil Protection, Government of Catalonia
Forest Research Institute of Baden-Wuerttemberg
CIMA Research Foundation
Austrian Research Centre for Forest, Natural Hazards and Landscape
Institute of Cartography and Geology of Catalonia
Instituto Superior de Agronomia

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