It cannot be stressed enough: More than 100 participants from 22 countries gathered in the Polish forest to attend the SNEP (Association of Independent Firefighting Experts) Forest camp, an initiative supported by EFI, PCF and IAWF. This is not only a great number, but also proves the incredible teamwork of the forest fire community, where instructors share knowledge and capacity to train future experts and trainers of forest fire management.
The forest fire community consists of more than people actually fighting the fire. Therefore, SNEP organized the forest camp in Gubin, close to the German border and invited next to firefighters, also foresters, policy advisors, scientists, students, and journalists. The Exchange of Experts took place between 27-29 May, and was co-organized by the Waldbrand-Klima-Resilienz Project (WKR), based at the European Forest Institute Bonn, for the second year in a row.
This year’s Forest Camp concept
Nine instructors from South Africa, the US, Spain, Ireland, Wales and Germany with plenty of experience in fire management and capacity building provided the participants with hands-on training on tactics, techniques, fire behaviour, and hand tools in realistic fire scenarios. Meanwhile, in the background, the SNEP Team facilitated the training days, ensuring the communication amongst the instructors and providing all technical equipment.
Eight crews, each consisting of 10 people, were briefed and prepared for the main camp day, where real fire scenarios forced the participants to apply the knowledge under the experts’ guidance. The exercises ranged from live fire, portable pumps, progressive hose lay, pump-and-roll, fireline constructions, innovative technologies, first aid trainings and the use of hand tools.
Above all, the sharing of experiences, skills and knowledge is something significantly natural for the fire management community. Not only are less experienced participants and newcomers welcome, but the team spirit is a substantial characteristic of all of them. Knowledge must be shared with more people, allowing to train multipliers and the future generation of wildland fire and forest managers.
International cooperation, gathering best practices and expertise, aiming to share scientific developments and fire knowledge – all this is to “fuel” the progress of international networks and frameworks that will help a growing number of stakeholders and communities to better prepare for fire events and put more emphasis on the holistic approach of integrated fire management.
The international but yet close collaboration amongst so many different countries is nothing but inspiring and beneficial – it has been another great experience and we already are very much looking forward to next year!!
Thank you, SNEP, for your dedication and all the hard work you have put into organising this camp!
For more impressions from the Exchange of Experts, we encourage you to watch the short video with impressive drone footage from the Forest Camp!
Alternatively, check out the photo stream on Facebook!
The article was originally published on the WKR website
Photo credits: Maria Schloßmacher