Discussing the impacts of a wilfire in the South-East of France with Critical Infrastructures operators

April 4th 2017, Valabre

A workshop was organised in Gardanne France, on April 4th 2017, by EU-CIRCLE partners Valabre and Artelia, with the participation of NCSRD, as part of the EU-CIRCLE case study on wildfires. The aim of the workshop was to stimulate discussions with the relevant Critical Infrastructure (CI) operators in relation to the case study, which aims to analyse the impacts of climate change, through extreme dryness with wildfires igniting simultaneously in the summer 2040 in the South East of France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region), on the electricity network and the road transportation system (highway network).

The following CI operators participated at the workshop:

  • RTE, operator of the French electricity transmission network;

  • ENEDIS, operator of the major part of the French electricity distribution network; and

  • and ESCOTA, operator of the highway network.

In addition, fire-fighters from the Var county (département) and the Zonal Operational center also attended the workshop, as the case study scenario will be conducted as an actual Civil Protection exercise to complement the validation of EU-CIRCLE’s Climate Infrastructure Resilience Platform (CIRP). This approach of running the case study scenario through CIRP but also in real life will help in fulfilling the operational objectives of EU-CIRCLE of ensuring service continuity, minimising recovery time and leveraging inter-organisational collaboration during crises.

During the workshop, the EU-CIRCLE methodological framework was presented to the participants as well as the functioning of the CIRP. A risk analysis was conducted using Fire Weather Index projections, and the derived risk level estimates and historical data sets (localisation of wildfire ignition points for instance) were presented to the CI operators. Wildfires were simulated using a fire spreading model (FIRETACTIC) in the fire prone areas and their impact on the critical infrastructures was investigated. The participants examined and discussed the potential physical damages and functional impacts of such hazards, not only on the CIs (e.g. damages to the network assets, degraded overall performance, economic and financial losses, consequences on safety and reliability levels, as well as on the CI reputation) but also on society at large. The discussions on the cascading effects across networks were particularly fruitful as this meeting was the first common gathering of all stakeholders involved in the case study.

The second part of the workshop was devoted to the EU-CIRCLE approach to resilience. In this session, the discussion between the participants focused on the choice of relevant indicators and metrics for assessing the resilience of the critical infrastructures which can pave the way towards the identification of relevant prevention and adaptation measures.

Comparison of Fire-Weather Indices (2006-2015 versus 2035-2046) :