Fighting fire by the book

Euronews featured a comprehensive article with interviews from our European Forest Risk Facility experts, Alexander Held (EFI) and Marc Castellnou (Pau Costa Foundation) on how to tackle wildfires, aiming at summarizing the lessons learned of fighting wildfires.

Castellnou emphasizes that all the related research helps them predict how the fire will develop and make an effective use of resources. Held explains the three main factors to consider when assessing a fire: wind, terrain and the direction of the blaze. He then elaborates on dry firefighting tactics for preventing the fire to spread, such as digging channels along the flanks of the blaze and removing vegetation with prescribed burns.

Our experts also highlight the importance of ground crews to prevent reignition of the fires. “So in an ideal world, every drop by a water bomber would be followed on the ground by a hand crew”, Held told Euronews.

They also discuss the Incident Command System (ICS), a standardized way of commanding, controlling and coordinating emergency response; and its benefits when bringing different crews from different countries together to fight a wildfire.

Held recently posted an article on this blog with his views on the importance of more prevention and mitigation through better land and forest management to increase the resilience of our landscapes and forests. He has also reported about the wildfire situation in Sweden, Ireland, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Poland.

A year ago, looking at the 2017 fires in Portugal and at the reaction of the EU, Held formulated already (and in 2003, 2007, 2009…) a blog post here.

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