Landscape fires are increasingly becoming a global problem, with over 300 million hectares burned annually. These fires are assuming increasingly extreme characteristics and causing more severe impacts on populations and ecosystems. Landscape fires are a complex phenomenon, influenced by a variety of social, economic, and ecological factors. It is clear that the current approach to landscape fire management, which focuses on prevention and suppression, is no longer adequate.
The 8th International Wildland Fire Conference, held in Porto in May, proposed a new fire governance model comprising key stakeholders for collaboration on collective action. The Landscape Fire Governance Framework (LFGF) is a proposed framework that brings together governments, businesses, academia, and members of civil society to develop and implement balanced and technically supported solutions to landscape fire management.
The LFGF is a legally non-binding, voluntary set of guiding principles, goals, and governance proposals for adjusting strategies, policies, and landscape fire management at a global level. It is aimed at policymakers and decision-makers and it is based on the following principles:
- Integrated fire management is critical for sustainable landscape management.
- Governance models must address risk and involve different stakeholders.
- The diversity of scientific and cultural knowledge, values, and political options must be brought together.
- International guiding principles are needed to manage the increasing risk of wildfires.
This framework does not intend to suppress or ignore national or local options and heritages. Rather, it offers a view into a shared goal of a significant loss reduction from wildfires. It adds expertise and the latest research and scientific knowledge, enhances risk governance, and provides a clear scope of action for all stakeholders.
Countries are invited to promote integrated landscape fire management by bridging existing gaps through governance options that foster cross-agency and cross-sectoral dialogue. They should also join efforts to strengthen networks and thematic resource centres for domestic and international sharing of best practices and innovation.
Under the United Nations, the LFGF could also be the base for further, binding agreements. An international mechanism, under the UN, is sought to promote the implementation of a global integrated fire management programme, and to facilitate financing of the necessary actions, worldwide.
The LFGF is a voluntary framework, but it is important to note that the challenges of landscape fire management are not. Landscape fires are a complex and transboundary problem, and they require a global response and this initiative provides a framework for countries to work together to address this challenge.