Extreme wildfire events: Addressing governance and management challenges across Europe

Lisbon, Portugal, 29 May 2019.

Photo: Pexels

Last year, wildfires raged across Europe, sweeping through landscapes to leave a trail of environmental devastation, loss of human lives, and economic damage. In the wake of these far-reaching impacts, the urgency of addressing extreme fire events and the challenge of climate change drew attention to the need for more effective policy and practice for wildfire prevention.

“Extreme wildfire events: Addressing the challenges faced by national governance and management systems across Europe,” a session of the 4th European Climate Change Adaptation Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, aims tackle this salient issue. The session seeks to take stock of innovative solutions and successful case studies across Europe that demonstrate how to prevent and recover from extreme wildfire events.

The conference’s core message is that adapting to climate change requires a coordinated and synergistic approach from a diverse range of actors across sectors. Correspondingly, this session will engage main actors involved in forest and forest fire management in Europe and internationally (scientists, practitioners, civil society, and policy makers) at the relevant scales (local, regional, national).

An introductory video from the European Forest Institute will set the stage for this discussion advocating a new vision in the strategy for tackling wildfire. Following this introduction, experts involved in forest fire governance at various scales will illustrate concrete examples of successful fire management and sustainable land management approaches. Among these speakers, Inazio Martinez de Arano, the head of the European Forest Institute Mediterranean Facility, will lead a presentation on the need for a new fire paradigm, focussing on successful cases of managing fuels in the landscape to mitigate megafire risk, as well as practical examples of the increasing relevance of civil protection. His speech will emphasize the reality that fires result from human causes, and that policymakers must work with people to reduce fire ignition.

The case studies and lessons learned from this presentation and others will provide the basis for a round table discussion moderated by Carla Castelo, a SIC Channel journalist, which will be open for audience participation.Overall, the session hopes to provide a platform for exchange between the key actors and partners to address the barriers in governance and management, which often impede an integrated forest fire management strategy.

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EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.