Forest fIres are considered a major environmental problem in many European Union Member States as well as in other parts of the world. According to a recent report of the European Commission, forest fues are a dominant feature of the landscapes of the fIve Southern European Member States - Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece, and almost a half of the Community's forests have been classed as fue-risk areas. Protection from forest fues is an interdisciplinary endeavour, which needs to be addressed from both the technological and methodological point of view, and which necessitates a wide spectrum of various scientifIc disciplines. It also implies the solution of numerous practical problems (both of a generic nature and of a specifIc one) and the consideration of the characteristics of the specifIc areas in which fue fIghting is carried out. ScientifIc research is offering a major contribution to forest fIre fIghting. The European Commission (DG XII, Directorate General for Science, Research and Development) has supported since the 1980s a number of multinational research projects through its successive RTD programmes in the fIeld of the Environment.