VR experience inside a European wooded area affected by drought and fires

Trieste | Started on 01/09/2022

July/August 2022: as a consequence of a long drought, a series of fires devastate some wooded areas of the Karst, a cross-border area between Italy and Slovenia. “CENERE MEMORIE” (“ASH MEMORIES”) is a virtual reality experience built with some fragments of Karst areas, collected through 3D scans during the days following the fires. Inside a virtual world, we observe these destroyed leftovers and we listen to the voices of the people living in the affected areas, telling us what their experience was in fighting the flames.

According to researchers from the Environment and Territory group of the Department of Agri-food, Environmental and Animal Sciences of the University of Udine, the first estimate of the damage caused by fires (both on the Italian and Slovenian sides) is over 3700 hectares of burnt woodland. Almost 194,000 cubic meters of lost biomass. The fire has destroyed 32% of the forest stock in the areas affected by the fires. The recovery of the burned territories could take between 10 and 20 years. This VR aims to be a cultural tool to prevent such events, consequences of climate change, from reoccurring in the future. The efforts of local communities, firefighters and civil protection intervening on both sides of the border have in fact created a temporary situation where the border has ceased to exist, allowing common wooded areas and some inhabited centers to be saved.

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