NEMAUSUS: Spain – Portugal Study Tour and Exchange of Experts (EoE)

In the frame of a cooperation between the Advanced Fire Analyst Network project and the NEMAUSUS project of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, a weeklong study tour in Spain and Portugal was organized by the Pau Costa Foundation and the Waldbrand Klima Resilienz (WKR) project. Spanish and Portuguese colleagues shared their knowledge and research with fire management experts from Germany, Croatia, Greece, France, Poland, and Italy. This was a great opportunity for WKR beneficiaries to have the opportunity to learn from fellow-European countries – especially those more advanced in coping with wildfires. This Nemausus Study Tour was originally a ‘closed’ project activity for consortium partners. Through valuable networks and collaboration with other projects (i.e., AFAN), WKR project in cooperation with partner Pau Costa Foundation, was able to help facilitate the participation of 7 experts from Germany and 2 from Poland and Greece.

Excluding hosts and entities visited, study tour participants included:


  • Ministry of Interior (Croatia)

  • Ministry of Interior (France)

  • Nimes Metropol (France)

  • Hellenic Fire Corps (Greece)

  • Pau Costa Foundation (Spain)

  • Special Civil Protection Force (GAUF-FEPC) (Portugal)

  • Association of Independent Fire Experts (SNEP) (Poland)

  • D.R.E.A.M Italia (Italy)

  • European Forest Institute (Germany)

  • East Bavarian Technical University, Regensburg (Germany)

  • State Fire Academy Bavaria, Regensburg (Germany)

  • State Academy for Fire and Disaster Protection, Brandenburg (LSTE) (Germany)

  • Lower Saxony State Office for Fire and Disaster Protection (NLBK) (Germany)

  • Waldbrand Team (NGO) (Germany)


On Monday 25 April, the expert team was greeted by top fire analysts of the GRAF, Catalan Fire and Rescue Service in the town of El Bruc. There, informal discussions were held to get acquainted with the topics and each other. Experts from Germany, Croatia, Greece, Poland, and Spain presented brief overviews of the state of the art of wildfire management in their respective countries which sparked valuable and candid discussions between the experts on a variety of topics. In the afternoon, a field trip to the Odena fire site (2015) was organized to discuss integrated fire management and integration of fire extinguishing operations on landscape planning also highlighting the advanced pre-planning and executed fire management strategies of the CFRS during this fire which led to the less damaging outcome. Further, emergency management models and challenges to adapting landscape planning and forest management into emergency management operation needs were discussed, also in lieu of tactical fire operations.


On Monday 25 April, the expert team was greeted by top fire analysts of the GRAF, Catalan Fire and Rescue Service in the town of El Bruc. There, informal discussions were held to get acquainted with the topics and each other. Experts from Germany, Croatia, Greece, Poland, and Spain presented brief overviews of the state of the art of wildfire management in their respective countries which sparked valuable and candid discussions between the experts on a variety of topics. In the afternoon, a field trip to the Odena fire site (2015) was organized to discuss integrated fire management and integration of fire extinguishing operations on landscape planning also highlighting the advanced pre-planning and executed fire management strategies of the CFRS during this fire which led to the less damaging outcome. Further, emergency management models and challenges to adapting landscape planning and forest management into emergency management operation needs were discussed, also in lieu of tactical fire operations.



On Tuesday 26 April, the team convened at the Politecnical University of Barcelona (UPC) to discuss how an EU Center of Expertise on forest fires – the eventual objective of the NEMAUSUS project – could support research, innovation and practitioners. Subsequently there were presentations from the EU Green Deal and DGECHO UCPKN -funded projects:


During this visit, a knowledge hub concept which NEMAUSUS aims to achieve, proved beneficial because the participants learned about several EU projects being led by the UPC which might help to bolster emergency planning and management in their home countries. For example, the WUI-VIEW project focusing on calculating the threat to the wildland urban interface areas through an assessment system. This knowledge would not have been available on the “normal” ways of communication and exchange.



On Wednesday 27 April the expert team transferred to Madrid by train and even the train ride was filled with exchange of knowledge and fire analysis as seen in the picture with experts from 4 different countries exchanging thoughts, ideas, and strategies. The group then visited the Spanish National School of Civil Protection (ENPC) in Madrid. There the team was briefed by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge followed by a presentation of the Forest Fires Assessment and Advisory Team (FAST) capabilities and activations and integration under the UCPM. A discussion about the possible future connections between the FAST team and northern European states which might need the team during wildfire disasters led to several ideas to be followed up in the future. In the afternoon, the FAST team demonstrated their method for fire analysis using scenarios and a digital sandbox. Additionally, the Spain and California-based company Tecnosylva, demonstrated an additional option for fire analysts with their simulator - FiResponse and Simtable.


On Thursday morning 28 April, the group transferred to Lisbon, Portugal for the final leg of the study tour. The afternoon commenced with a visit to the Portuguese National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANPC) where the experts were greeted by the National Commander and the Portuguese Civil Protection Special Forces Chief Fire Analyst. The day concluded with a Visit at Escola Nacional de Bombeiros (ENB) (Portuguese national fire academy).



Friday 29 April, the final day, began at the School of Agriculture University of Lisbon (ISA) where there were presentations and discussions with research stakeholders and projects both at national and EU level; among other, Virtual Operations Support Teams (VOST Europe) was presented as well as the FirEURisk Project led by Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Aerodinâmica Industrial (ADAI) through Professor Xavier Domingo Viegas, a known authority in the field of wildland fire research.


Overall, the study tour, with its long days and packed program, ensured an environment for trust and confidence building, networking, and planning for future cross-border collaboration. Several concrete follow-up activities resulted from this very valuable experience and feedback from the experts was overwhelmingly positive. It very much embodied the spirit of the new Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network: Connect. Share. Grow.


Pictures: Lindon Pronto