Conceição Colaço (Portugal) 1; Alejandro Cantero (Spain) 2; Enrique Jimenez Carmona (Spain) 3; José Ferná ndez Alonso (Spain) 3; Cristina Ferná ndez Filgueira (Spain) 3; Sandra Sánchez Garcia (Spain) 4; Elena Canga Líbano (Spain) 4; Sarah Yoga (France) 5; Francisco Rego (Portugal) 1
1 - Centre for Applied Ecology Prof. Baeta Neves (CEABN-InBIO), School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon; 2 - HAZI; 3 - CIF-Lourizan, Pontevedra; 4 - CETEMAS, Asturias, 33936; 5 - European Forest Institute - Planted Forests Facility.
Wildfires are a major hazard observed in the forests in south-western Europe. In 2017, approximately 540 thousand hectares of forest were burned in Portugal, 178 thousand ha in Spain and 26 thousand in France. Nonetheless their impacts don’t resume to forest goods and ecosystems, but also to human safety and health. For instance in Portugal, 2017 had the more severe social impact ever, with 112 fatalities and more than 500 injured. Furthermore, forest fire occurrence and severity tend to increase with climate change and human activities. Therefore, forest fire management is crucial in this region. Plurifor is an European project (Interreg SUDOE) which aims for cross-border collaboration between France, Portugal, and Spain to develop regional and transnational risk management plans for forest areas susceptible to biotic and abiotic hazards. In relation with wildfires (abiotic hazard), there were involved forest actors from Galicia, Asturias, Basque Country, and Portugal.
The aim of this group is to assess the Portuguese national and Spanish regional forest fire management plans and establish a set of recommendations.
An inquiry to selected key stakeholders from the different regions/country was sent by e-mail and in some cases, a phone interview was carried out to clarify some of the received answers.
Not all the regions have wildfire risk plans however all of them have institutions responsible for the prevention, warning and emergency/extinction of wildfires. Some of the regions don’t have fuel map (e.g. Asturias), or don’t have enough work in the fire risk education and awareness (e.g. Portugal). The use of fire behavior simulators as a decision support tool for prevention and extinction is not a common tool used on the studied regions.
As a result from this assessment, a best practice guide has been written. The guide focuses on filling gaps in the existing plans and the need for a common technical language to implement a transnational forest risk plan. Two new tools were created to determine the level of fire risk (Forest Fire Risk Index, IRIF) and to improve forest fire prevention analysis (Potential Seriousness Index, PGI). The tools were built based on historical forest fires and meteorological variables. We also recommend a regular mapping of forest fuels, the use of wildfire behavior simulator for planning fuel management activities, inter-administrative coordination between regional councils and cross-border cooperation to increase forest fire prevention.