Forest fires consist one of the greatest hazards for the viability and sustainable development of forests with implications both on natural and cultural environment, affecting the economy and the quality of life of local population. The outbreaks of forest fires could stem from either natural (thunders) or anthropogenic causes (carelessness, accidents, arsons). The latter usually compose the greatest percentage of ignition of forest fires especially at the Mediterranean regions. Primary aim of the paper is the exploration of strategic and operational preparedness and tactics of fire agencies in a small Greek island. Case study is the island of Thasos, which is located in the north of Greece. The prevention and effective confrontation of natural catastrophes such as forest fires constitutes high priority for the integrated protection as well as the sustainable development of such susceptible ecosystems. The purpose of the study is the overall enhancement and improvement of prevention; timely and powerful suppression and generally the rational confrontation of forest fires, adapted to the indigenous peculiarities of the insular environment, through knowledge and operational gaps that will be resulted from the current survey. The ongoing research consists of a survey (through questionnaires) by exploring the perspectives and knowledge basis of agencies responsible for preventing and containing forest fires (forest service, civil protection secretary of municipality of Thasos, local Fire Service) on specific issues such as coordination issues; economic data and information; possible ignition causes; necessary precautions and activities for effective prevention and timely suppression and the corresponding difficulties; quantity and quality of fire machinery and human resources involved to the fire confrontation. All above could be integrated into a unique study so that we may develop a comprehensive Decision Support System for the island. Finally, it should be highlighted that neither the prevention nor the suppression agency staff have been aware about the existence and significance - contribution of Decision Support Systems to the natural catastrophes (like forest fires) management and containment. Hence, there is fertile ground and a unique opportunity is presented in practicing contemporary Decision Support Systems into Thasos island, assisting and educating actively the fire personnel to the usage of such state-of-the-art systems. Thus, the added value of this project is considered of vital importance for educational, preventative and operational reasons before and during forest fires.
Keywords: Survey, operational preparedness and tactics, fire agencies, island, Thasos