LIFE Project Cover Photo

Fighting Forest Fires Using Electronic and Communication Technologies: LIFETEC

Reference: LIFE16 ENV/ES/000559 | Acronym: LIFETEC



Forest fires can cause significant damage that reduces the resilience of ecosystems. Impacts include changes in biodiversity and loss of connectivity, effects on soil and water, air pollution, and economic losses.

Some 80% of forest fires in Europe occur in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and France [Forest Fires in Europe 2014, European Commission]. Data shows that Spain had the most fires and the largest burnt area. Over half of the forest fires in Spain occurred in the north-west of the country.

The 1992 EU Regulation on the protection of forests against fire led to the establishment of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). In the fight against forest fires, early detection is critical for reducing response times, along with improved communication and coordination. The response time is directly related to the final burned area. Improving EFFIS will produce a more efficient tool for assessing measures to protect against forest fires and to better understand their causes.

At national level, state and regional prevention and defence plans against forest fires are aimed at minimising their environmental, social and economic damage. In Galicia, objective 5 of working group 4 of the region’s Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3) includes the early detection of forest fires, modelling their behaviour and innovation in information transfer to extinguish the fires.


LIFETEC aims to show that it is possible to use existing meteorological radars to detect forest fires at an early stage, thereby improving the usefulness of EFFIS. The project will also test the use of new communication and navigation systems that can improve the management and coordination of agents involved in fire-fighting, reducing their response time and the forest area burned. The project actions will be implemented in the region of Galicia in north-west Spain, and in Arouca, Portugal.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  • To demonstrate the use of weather radars to detect forest fires at an early stage. For this, it will develop and test new early detection algorithms; and
  • To use TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) digital radio for communicating with and coordinating fire-fighting teams. This will avoid the problem of poor network coverage in rural areas that can hinder the use of mobile phone systems.
  • LIFETEC will contribute to the implementation of the EU Regulation on the protection of forests against fire. The system being trialled by this LIFE project has significant scope to be replicated elsewhere.

    Expected results:

  • Weather radars to detect 20% of detected fires before other technologies;
  • Response times to be 20% quicker;
  • Reduction in the average wooded area burned per fire to no more than 1 ha;
  • Increase the proportion of fires of up to 1ha by 2%;
  • Less than 2% of fires to exceed 25 ha. In 2015, 2.55% of fires in Galicia were larger than 25 ha;
  • A 10% reduction in the use of fire-fighting aircraft;
  • A 15% reduction in the average area burned per fire and average carbon dioxide emission per fire (compared with fires in 2006-2015– average of 33.38ha); and
  • 25% less serious accidents compared to total number of intervention hours; and
  • 25% less time spent fighting forest fires.


    Reference: LIFE16 ENV/ES/000559
    Acronym: LIFETEC
    Start Date: 01/09/2017
    End Date: 31/12/2021
    Total Eligible Budget: 1,205,063 €
    EU Contribution: 659,828 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: UNIVERSIDADE DE VIGO
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: CAMPUS AS LAGOAS MARCOSENDE, 36310, VIGO, España
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Natural risks (Flood - Forest fire - Landslide)


    • forest fire
    • forecast
    • fire protection
    • fire service


    • Regulation (EC) No 805/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 April 2002 amending Council Regulation (EEC) No 2158/92 of 23 July 1992 on protection of the Community's forests against fire


    Name Type
    Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera, I. P., Portugal Participant
    Redes de Telecomunicación galegas Retegal S.A., Spain Participant
    Dirección Xeral de Calidade Ambiental e Cambio Climático, Spain Participant
    Axencia para a Modernización Tecnolóxica de Galicia, Spain Participant