Devastating wildfires in Russia underline the need for integrated fire management
The many wildfires in Russia which are currently raging, in particular in the Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh and Ryazan regions, follow an unprecedented heat wave with temperatures reaching past 38C. The devastation caused by the fires is showing to be disastrous, it has claimed over 50 lives and left thousands of people homeless. Currently more than 150,000 workers from the emergencies ministry and other state bodies are battling the approximately 600 fires which cover an area over 100,000 hectares.
On average, half a million hectares of forests and other rural areas are burnt by wildfires every year in Europe. Southern Europe has experienced a number of catastrophic fires in recent years as seen in Portugal, Spain and Greece, destroying large forest areas, properties and costing many lives. The Greek fires of 2007 consumed nearly 300,000 hectares of forest and other rural land, more than 60 lives were lost and a large number of homes destroyed. Besides the human tragedies of such catastrophic events, the financial losses are considerable. In Greece the damages were estimated in billions of Euros.
( EFI News 1-2, 2010). The financial implications will have to be seen for the currently raging fires in Russia.
In order to confront such catastrophic events, new and innovative concepts and practices are needed in order to mitigate fire danger and intensity. The concept that fire may be used to regulate the problem of wildfires has been given increased attention in science and in practice. The EU 6 th Framework Programme Project FIRE PARADOX and the EFI Discussion Paper No 15 “Living with Wildfires: What Science Can Tell Us” have provided expert knowledge from science and from practice on how the combination of fire prevention and suppression strategies, often referred to as integrated fire management, may contribute to mitigating the frequency and intensity of devastating wildfire events such as those having occurred in the recent past and are currently dominating the news headlines.
Find below links to literature including the EFI Policy Brief 4 which is available in 6 languages including Russian:
Rego, F., Rigolot, E., Fernandes, P., Montiel, C., Sande Silva, J. 2010: Towards integrated fire management. EFI Policy Brief 4. 16 p. (available here in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek and Russian)
Sande Silva, J., Rego, F., Fernandes, P., Rigolot, E. 2010: Towards integrated fire management – outcomes of the European Projects Fire Paradox. European Forest Institute Research Report 23. 229 p.
Yves Birot (ed.), 2009. Living with Wildfires: What Science Can Tell Us EFI Discussion Paper 15. European Forest Institute, 2009. 82 p. (available here in English, Spanish and Greek)
Montiel, C, Kraus, D. (Eds.) (forthcoming in 2010). Best practices of fire use. Prescribed burning and suppression fire programmes in selected regions of Europe. European Forest Institute Research Report