Sparking firesmart policies in the EU

This review of research produced through projects funded by the European Union could hold the key to improved forest fire risk management and policy in Europe.

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Photo: European Commission

As the incidence and intensity of forest fires in southern Europe increases, policies that used to be effective in support of fire suppression are no longer enough to prevent extreme and damaging megafires.

For the past 20 years, the European Union has funded over 60 research projects on forest fires through its 6th and 7th Framework Programmes, and then Horizon 2020. These projects, which received combined funding from the EU of more than 100 million euros, may hold the key to adapt policy to these new challenges, and in the face of climate change.

Forest Fires: Sparking firesmart policies in the EU,” edited by Nicolas Faivre, is a review of the research produced through these projects. Leading experts in forest fire research and innovation highlight the opportunities to turn the advances in knowledge, operational management, and decision-support mechanisms into improved policy.

The conversation about forest fires in Europe faces an increasing need to adapt to a new paradigm. These new, research-based perspectives that consider “climate and environmental changes, social and cultural trends and growth dynamics” could lead to a more extensive dialogue and cooperation between key actors, and ultimately towards improved forest fire risk management in Europe.

Indeed, training and exchange of knowledge between experts is crucial. In this context, the European Forest Risk Facility initiative has collated information from around the world on fire-use courses and practical training opportunities in South Africa, USA and Europe.

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