International Wildfire Emergency Assistance

International Agreements | Satellite Data | Operators and Equipment | Exercises

Establishment of Contact with UN-OCHA or GFMC

In view of the extended wildfires in South East Asia and the Americas in 1997-98, in Africa, the Mediterranean region and the United States of America in 2000, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) Joint Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) recognized the need for improved cooperation in preparedness, early warning, information dissemination and response to wildland fire emergencies. In March 2001 Joint Interface procedures between UNEP-OCHA and the GFMC have been signed and have been proven effective since then.

In case of a large wildland fire incident that threatens national resources and/or international interests and thus requires a response by the international community, the country affected may call assistance through the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch through the following communication links:

During regular working hours, the preferred manner of notification is by facsimile, although telephone or other means of communication, as given below, may be used as appropriate. The contact information for communicating with the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch is as follows:


Emergency Preparedness and Environment Section
Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Palais des Nations, Bureau 144
CH 1211 Geneva 10

Fax: +41-22-917-0257

Telephone: +41-22-917-1934 /1815 / 3484 / 2208

Telephone in case of emergency (only, to be used outside regular office hours (Geneva local time is UTC + 2hrs): +41-22-917-2010

E-Mail: OCHAGVA@un.org

UNEP/OCHA Environmental Emergencies Response: http://www.reliefweb.int/ochaunep/ Joint Environment Unit biannual reports (with GFMC contributions):

For international fire emergencies the GFMC cooperates with UN OCHA and on any other request by providing:

  • Background information on the ecological, social and cultural fire environment of the region or country concerned
  • Fire intelligence data (satellite imageries available from various sources)
  • Early warning of fires, fire-weather predictions
  • Contact persons in the countries affected
  • Liaise with the joint UNEP-OCHA unit
  • Liaise with regional and international fire experts

This service is available to support information flow to officially ongoing emergency response through UN OCHA and other international mechanisms and procedures. Since February 2005 the GFMC is associated and closely working with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team. Since 2014 the GFMC is serving as Interim Secretariat of the International Wildfire Preparedness Mechanism (IWPM) and offers a number of tools that may either be used directly online or be requested for implementation by interested parties.

The following GFMC hotlines should be used only for requesting emergency assessment and national wildland fire management support.

Contact: Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)

Fax: +49-761-808012

Telephone: +49-761-808011

Telephone in case of emergency only to be used outside regular office hours:

+49-170 2 34 74 84

Satellite Telephone (Iridium) during emergency field operations (if activated):


E-Mail: fire@fire.uni-freiburg.de

GFMC Website: https://gfmc.online/

Please note: The GFMC is located in Germany. Local German time is UTC (GMT) + 2 hours

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