Landscape fires, drought and heat waves in 2018 and 2019, highlight exacerbating consequences of climate change’ impacts negatively affecting Central Europe. In Germany, landscape fires are a relatively new phenomenon. Various affected actors have scrambled to react to this situation: First responders are often grappling with knowledge gaps or inadequate resources for combatting wildfires; land- and forest owners have so far either neglected fire prevention measures or are not aware of them; the understanding of landscape fires amongst the general public and public officials alike, stem largely from media coverage of events occurring in southern Europe or elsewhere in the world.
In order to close these gaps, swift action is required. The project consortium, led by European Forest Institute, and its extensive network will contribute to tackle these challenges in the coming years.
The project will promote knowledge and experience from countries facing comparable challenges. It will focus on adapting best practices from across Europe to the German context. Emphasis will be given to enhancing awareness and understanding for landscape fire challenges by promoting proactive public policy and management, thus avoiding emphasis on reactiveness which is unsustainable and often comes at a high price.
The last two years in particular, have underscored the need for raising awareness, transferring knowledge, developing appropriate training materials for firefighters and foresters alike, and for applying best practices and appropriate policies. The cornerstones of this project are therefore to:
- Adapt international knowledge and best practice for application in Germany;
- Bridge forest- and landscape fire management in an integrated way to better prepare Germany against increasing wildfire risk;
- Organise international exchanges of expertise and develop context-appropriate training modules;
- Create demonstration sites which model resilient forest structures;
- Use publications, communication and public relations as a core means for both achieving the project goals and soliciting progress and collaboration beyond the life of the project; and
- Provide expert input for supporting the development of a national framework / strategy for landscape fire management.