Following the devastating forest fires in Portugal there is a strong need for high-resolution imagery to assess the whole extent of the damages and to coordinate further aid efforts in the affected areas. European Space Imaging acquired high-resolution IKONOS satellite imagery of Central Portugal recently. The imagery was promptly produced and forwarded to the Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) in the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Thus the ZKI was able to deliver first evaluation maps to Portuguese authorities and national and international aid organizations on the day of image collection. The “Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information” (ZKI) is a service of DLR’s German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD).
The IKONOS imagery allows for objects as large as 80 centimeters to be clearly distinguished and gives a very detailed overview of the degree of damage in the areas ravaged by the forest fires. The images show that not only large areas of forests – approximately 140.000 hectares have already been destroyed this year – and agricultural land have been affected, but also many towns and villages. The blazes have been worst in North and Central Portugal. The close collaboration between European Space Imaging and DLR enables a fast mapping and analysis of the impacts of such a natural disaster using high-resolution satellite imagery and strongly supported a fast reaction in all kinds of crisis situations.