Monitoring areas damaged by forest fires in Serra da Estrela, Portugal (2023-05-02)

Collection: CEMS-RRM : CEMS Risk and Recovery Mapping 


Activation date: 2023-05-02
Event type: Other

Activation reason:

In August 2022, a wild forest fire affected the Portuguese Serra da Estrela National Park for several days, with strong winds and high temperatures making it difficult for firefighters to control the flames. The Copernicus Emergency Management Service Rapid Mapping (EMSR618) was activated to respond to this event. The fire, the largest in 50 years, resulted in an affected area of about 25,000 hectares, forced the evacuation of several local communities, and caused significant damage to the natural environment, including forests and wildlife habitats. Unfortunately, the devastation did not end there as the wildfires triggered a series of catastrophic floods on 13 September, which further ravaged the region in the following weeks.Several recovery efforts are being implemented to mitigate the effects of the wildfires in various domains. These efforts include the recovery of affected infrastructures such as forest fire defense networks, accessibility networks, and water availability spots. Measures are also being taken to control soil loss, reduce landslide risk, and minimize the risk of flash floods through slope stabilization, re-vegetation of affected areas, and other interventions.The goal of the activation was to assess the current situation within the affected area of interest in terms of vegetation status, land use/land cover, vegetation recovery analysis, and accessibility of the road network. Additionally, the activation aimed to evaluate soil erosion risk, landslide risk, and soil loss by considering the post-fire situation as well as scenarios after the implementation of planned interventions. The following products were requested to support this assessment:1. Current detailed vegetation status at a 1:2,500 scale: This product provides a classification of the current vegetation observed on the most recent aerial component acquisition data (23-26/02/2023). The classification is based on both morphology and height criteria. Photointerpretation keys (PIK) were developed to support the morphological classification. Additionally, a Canopy Height Model (CHM) was calculated from the available Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and Digital Surface Model (DSM) data to extract vegetation height.2. Land-use Land-Cover at a 1:5,000 scale: This product offers an up-to-date land-use/land-cover layer based on the visual interpretation of the aerial component acquisition data (23-26/02/2023). The interpretation relies on the reference national Land Use-Land Cover (LULC) product COS2018, utilizing its level 4 data model.3. Assessment of vegetation recovery: This product evaluates the vegetation recovery at the present date, following the wildfire event. It compares vegetation status using Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index values from satellite images captured in May 2022 (before the event), August 2022 (right after the wildfire), and March 2023. The analysis of vegetation dynamics allows for the assessment of whether vegetation has been eliminated, died, deteriorated, been affected, is recovering, has recovered, or is living.4. Assessment and accessibility of the road network at a 1:5,000 scale: This product provides an accurate and complete road network, including an accessibility status.5. Erosion risk, Landslide risk and Soil loss for different scenarios (actual post fire, future situation after implementation of planned mitigation actions).


jrc-ems-rapidmapping (at)


How to cite

European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) (2023): Monitoring areas damaged by forest fires in Serra da Estrela, Portugal (2023-05-02). European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID:


CEMS Copernicus Copernicus Emergency Management Service Copernicus Emergency Management Service Risk and Recovery Mapping Activation Copernicus EMS Copernicus Service Emergency Emergency Management EMSN149 Mapping Other Portugal PRT Risk and Recovery Mapping

Data access

Copernicus EMS Risk and Recovery Mapping Activation [EMSN149]: Monitoring areas damaged by forest fires in Serra da Estrela, Portugal (2023-05-02)
  • Maps produced in scope of this Copernicus EMS Risk and Recovery Mapping activation downloadable as georeferenced PDFs, TIFFs and JPEGs together with relevant geodatabase (GDB) and complete final report as well.

Spatial coverage

Type Value
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Lineage information

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Additional information

Published by
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
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Data theme(s)
Regions and cities, Science and technology
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