Vegetation management is a powerful defence against large wildfires
Controlling the weather is not possible, nor is there hope to eliminate all possible avenues of ignition, such as careless use of fire, negligent behaviour, accidents and arson. The only factor that can be controlled is the large contiguous accumulations of vegetation that act as fuel. Therefore, broad scale vegetation management and preventive use of controlled fire to reduce combustible material are the only defence against large wildfires. This will not prevent fires occurring but it will ensure fires are less intense, easier and safer to control and will do less damage.
”There is a clear need to base fire management decisions on fire ecology science,” states Mr Alexander Held, researcher in fire ecology at EFICENT, Central European Regional Office of EFI . Fire science based management of vegetation will reduce the vulnerability and make forest ecosystems more resilient. Investing in the training of personnel involved in fire management is cost effective and will provide long term effects.
EFI is currently working on the development of a European Forest Risk Facility to improve the way we deal with forest disturbances on a European level to ensure the continuity of forest ecosystems and ecosystem services, reducing vulnerability, increasing resilience, managing risk to save costs, under a changing climate.
More on prevention of large fires.
Alexander Held or Daniel Kraus
European Forest Institute
Central European Regional Office/EFICENT-OEF
79100 Freiburg, Germany
Tel. +49 761 4018 478 or +49 761 4018 472
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