06-29-2017 04:49 AM
Pedrogão Grande´s forest fire - which started on the 17th of June - was one of the largest ever in Portugal, the deadliest in the country´s history and the 11th deadliest worldwide since 1900.
Alongside millions of Portuguese, it was with great sorrow that I watched live reports and news this past week. The several debates that followed, with several specialists in countless programs, that discussed innumerable policies which put us in a state in which we are today, where the number of victims takes on catastrophic proportions! Although it is important to discover where responsibility lies, this analysis´s purpose is not to analyse the causes behind this catastrophe. Its purpose is to simply call attention to the value of information that today exists on forest fires and its crucial role on decision making support, being it operational or in a previous phase of prevention and planning.
In a quick web search for credible information regarding “fires”, one can easily conclude the data dispersion and the difficulty in gaining access on behalf of the general public, regardless of their competences in statistics analyses. As in many other sectors, this lack of structured information accessible to all is still a major obstacle in timely decision-making.
The purpose of what I am now sharing is, above all, to integrate multiple source data, most of them in pdf or zip format and extensive tables, which are difficult to interpret, even by top specialists, and share a large set of interactive and easy-to-use dashboards. This will provide information that goes beyond aggregated statistics, usually blind to causes and the importance of multiple factors which only a more detailed analyses allows.
The information sources used come from zip files provided by Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e Florestas (ICNF) (Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests), European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and Wikipedia.
Last of all, a major word of thanks to our firefighters, who, without mathematical models or state-of-the-art technology, in the field, voluntarily, combat a war without winners, putting their life in danger for all of us. Thank you!