GlobalFire Monitoring Center Established in Germany
Recent research has provided considerable knowledge regarding both fire policy and management. However, in many developing countries this information is neither known nor accessible. During the fire and smoke disaster of 1997-98 in southeast Asia, for example, existing fire management expertise was used to only a limited extent, resulting in confusion at national and international levels and delayed emergency response. These problems were due, in part, to the lack of a globally accessible fire information and monitoring system that national and international agencies involved in land-use planning, disaster management, or other fire-related tasks could rely upon.
To address this problem, in June 1998, a Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) was established at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany. In its first phase, the GFMC is archiving information and providing real-time or near-real-time information related to fire. The center is linking with other national and international information systems, and in the future, will expand to support operational aspects of international fire disaster management. The GFMC fire documentation, information, and monitoring system is now accessible through the Internet at:
The GFMC is sponsored by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a German contribution to the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), and the center is currently cooperating with the IDNDR and other U.N. agencies to identify operational problems and policy questions and develop appropriate responses.
For additional information about this new center and its long-range plans, contact Johann G. Goldammer, Fire Ecology Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, c/o Freiburg University, P.O. Box D-79085 Freiburg, Germany; tel: +49-761-808011; fax: +49-761-808012.