Until recently, problems resulting from fires in forests and natural areas were solved on a national rather than international level. This resulted in duplicating research efforts. The Commission of the European Communities (CEC) tries to enhance the cooperation between European countries to stimulate research on the causes and the technological developments for wildfire prevention, detection, and fighting. One result of these efforts has been the start of an international project on the development of a demonstration system that will be used to aid wild land managers and fire fighters in preventing and fighting wild fires. The system will consist of a decision support system and an autonomous wild fire detection system. The basic information that is used by the decision support system is on the one hand a database system with historical, topographical, logistic, meteorological and geographic information and on the other hand `real-time' data from automated cameras and weather sensors. Also, in other large countries outside Europe, such as Canada, the United States and Australia, technological approaches are being developed to reduce hazards as a result of wild fires. In this paper a summary is given on the various problems and solutions in the area of autonomous wild fire detection and surveillance in the CEC and some other parts of the world.