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Polish-German exchange on wildfire prevention

Written by Michael Herrmann, ForestFireWatch and Alexander Held

„One firefighter within the first 15 minutes is worth more in the forest than 100 firefighters after an hour” – motto of Polish forest fire protection services, emphasizing the importance of initial attack

From 6-7 June 2019, Polish forest officers from the State Forests organization, firefighter and representatives of the Forest Research Institute met with members of the German volunteer organization “ForestFireWatch” for an exchange of knowledge and experience in Rzepin (Forest District), Poland. Main objective of the meeting was the exchange of experience in the field of wildfire prevention.

One part of the network: to exchange information and knowledge with partners

Polish forest service is maintaining a wide variety of wildfire prevention, early detection and initial attack components, such as camera systems, a fleet of pick-ups with slide-on units and even own planes for aerial support.

Polish foresters also forecast the fire hazard of the forest, measure the humidity of pine needles daily and observe the weather parameters from their own forest meteorological stations. There are also large expenditures on infrastructure: building special fire access roads, water supply point or forest air bases. The German delegation was impressed by the achievements of their Polish colleagues in recent years, especially as forest authorities in Germany do not run own firefighting components, but leave it completely to the volunteer fire service, which in common is not geared up for wildland firefighting.

Helicopters are an essential tool in firefighting and are not only used to fight the flames or reduce the potential spread of a fire, but also to transport equipment as well as workforce

The meeting was organized by Jan Kaczmarowski from Polish State Forest service. The dialogue between both working groups will be continued. A return visit of the Polish delegation in Germany is planned for October and we are looking forward to welcoming them!

This exchange visit is one good example that little investment in knowledge exchange is delivering valuable output in terms of capacity building and networking! ForestFireWatch as well as Polish forest officers from the State Forests administration and representatives of the Polish Forest Research Institute are supporting partners of the European Forest Risk Facility initiative. To be continued!

For further information on European Forest Risk Facility click here.

Photo credits: Marcin Cieślik, Jan Kaczmarowski

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