The European Commission recently published a report entitled: Forest Fires, Sparking firesmart policies in the EU.
Forest fires constitute a serious and increasing threat throughout Europe, particularly in Greece, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. Currently we are also observing more and more fires in the temperate zone of Central Europe. Despite a decreasing trend in the number of fires and areas burned, observed in some countries since the 1980s, larger and more damaging fires (i.e. ‘megafires’) are challenging the suppression capacities of many wildfire protection programmes across Europe.
The report critically reviews the results of EU research on forest fires with a view to exploring policy adaptation to face the new challenges imposed by megafires. The review demonstrates that EU-funded research has stimulated advances in fire knowledge, operational management and decision-support mechanisms while enhancing cooperation between the key actors. The review also highlights specific areas for improvement. The EFI Mediterranean Facility recently shared their views on the report, that you will find here.
Wildfire is also one of the thematic areas that the CMINE- Crisis Management Innovation Network Europe is addressing. To learn more about this topic area click here. We can proudly state that a number of fire experts from the Forest Risk Facility network are working in the CMINE expert group on Wildfire.
In this context, we would like to introduce some outstanding training opportunities:
Exchange of Experts (EoE Forest)
The European Forest Risk Facility initiative and its wider forest risk network has received information on fire-use courses and practical training opportunities in South Africa, USA and Europe. In the following, we would like to share this information and facilitate attendance for interested “fire students” and fire managers:
A Practical Burn Boss Course. A tailor-made burning course in different fuel types. The focus lies on practical application, planning and executing of a controlled burn. Each group of participants will be able to define their special interests and the course will be adapted to the respective needs: EoE South Africa. Also, see this course at the RiskPlatform
B Regional Advanced Integrated Fire Management Course. This theoretical course is addressing the planning and implementation of regional scale fuel management measures. A detailed description can be downloaded here: Regional-Advanced-IFM-Course
C Pro Silva Europa has associated members also from overseas. One of those members is The Forest Stewards Guild. It has a clear focus on integrated forest management. Fire in that context is a tool for silviculture and the Guild is offering training opportunities for Pro Silva members. This is especially interesting for European temperate forests where we observe more and more fire disturbance due to better (or worse) fire weather.
D The Pau Costa Foundation is offering regular training opportunities in Europe, South Africa, and the USA. Feel free to contact us or the PCF directly.
E FlameWork TREX to Portugal, although here all places are already taken.
Further reading: This is a very interesting, and motivating, blog post from the “Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network”. With some minor adaptions (land use change for instance), this article refers not only to the US but to Europe just as well! Read it, and please consider that, in Europe, prescribed fire is only one tool in the land- and fuel management toolbox.