FLIRE aims to change the paradigm for the combined, effective and robust risk assessment and management of both flash floods and forest fires, using state of art tools, technologies and methods and taking into account prevention, adaptation and interaction issues. br>
The traditional investigation of floods and fires through separate systems collecting information and modelling resulting risks is an approach that overlooks two significant facts:
Floods and forest fires are classified among the most devastating natural disasters, with severe socioeconomic impacts, including loss of human lives, ecological, health and quality of life degradation, destruction of private and public property and disruption of economic activities. Both disasters have considerable aesthetic impacts and often threaten the cultural heritage of the affected areas.

At the European level, flood events are the most frequently reported natural disasters, affecting 25% more people than any other type of natural disaster (Prevention Web, 2011). On the other hand economic damages resulting from wildfires (including for example the reduced ability of a burnt forest to offer recreation opportunities) are also significant, especially in Mediterranean regions, where their frequency is considerably high (Eurostat, 2007).

Both disasters cause significant degradation of ecosystem services and are especially high in the agenda of the European Environment Agency. This ecological degradation becomes even more severe in the (quite usual) case of combined action, i.e. a flood event becomes more probable and more catastrophic when occurring in a formerly forested area that has been devastated by wildfire. The occurrence and the extent of both natural disasters strongly depend not only on the existing weather conditions in an area, but also on human intervention, which is particularly pronounced in peri-urban areas and can magnify the environmental impact.

The main aspects of the environmental impact of fires and floods are:

Area of Implementation

FLIRE’s area of implementation is the peri-urban environment of the Eastern Attica region, more specifically the Rafina river basin (Greece), a typical Mediterranean area extends over approx. 130 km2 with rapid and uncontrolled urbanization. This area is quite prone both to flash floods and forest fires resulting in its gradual ecological degradation, with significant consequences for the almost 5 million inhabitants of Athens.

Eastern Attica region includes forests (~30%), arable soils and grasslands (~50%) mainly located upstream and urban cells (~20%) located downstream. The dominant vegetation in the forests is represented by evergreen-broadleaved shrublands, conifers (mainly Aleppo pine) and sclerophyllous vegetation. All of these species are very flammable and prone to forest fires. Large scale wildfire events are frequent in the area (appr. 80 fires occur in the wider Attica region annually, burning appr. 4.500ha of forested land), devastating its upstream vulnerable forests and significantly modifying its land cover. Regarding the water bodies of the area, the main watercourse is the stream of Rafina which discharges to the south Evoikos Gulf and its main tributaries are the streams of Lykorema, Ag. Paraskevi and New Voutza, that drain at the south hillsides of Mt. Penteliko. During the summer the water flow in the tributaries of the Rafina stream often remains low and during particularly hot summers the tributaries may even dry up. Despite the low flow rates of the water bodies during the hot periods, the area is particularly prone to flash floods. This can be attributed mainly to:
The same causes give rise to significant erosion, increased sediment loads and hydromorphological changes in the water bodies of the pilot area with obvious impacts on their status.