is a technical and also a socio-cultural and political challenge
that requires an effective network of willing partners, and appropriate
fire management functions and processes to effectively find the
appropriate balance between developing and conserving natural resources
and managing unwanted fires. IFMEG
works with an Integrated Fire Management (IFM) concept
that addressess all aspects of fire management.
Integrated Fire Management involves the facilitation
of multi-stakeholder and community consultation processes to develop
a common understanding about individual fire issues. It is based
on two pillars:
- Cooperation between local communities and land managers to find compromises and solutions in developing balanced, appropriate fire management.
- A comprehensive fire management strategy combining information, prevention and analysis, preparedness and fire suppression/fuels activities as integrated elements of an overall sustainable resource management framework.
- Analysis – a strong
insight into the aspects and perspectives of the fire issue and
cause is an obvious requirement prior to heavy investment or efforts
on fires and their use.
- Prevention –
many (forest) fires need not occur, however they will continue
to ignite and degrade forests as long as stakeholders fail to
focus on both the direct and underlying causes of (forest) fires.
- Preparedness -
Preparedness ensures that fires are not a surprise. An important
aspect of preparedness is training and development of fire management
and suppression personnel. It also includes the installation and
maintenance of infrastructure such as access roads and tracks,
firebreaks, fire towers and preparing assets and homes. This is
supported by equipment purchase and maintenance. The ongoing monitoring
of weather conditions, fuels and ignition sources to provide timely
advice and warnings on possible fires, ensures that resources
can be most effectively used.
- Response – being
sufficiently prepared and ensuring an appropriate response to
forest fires when they occur are key factors in effective and
efficient fire management. It is essential to have plans and resources
in place prior to fires occurring. Responsible authorities need
to have a range of options available, know which fires to suppress
and which to allow to burn, mechanisms for monitoring fire danger
and identifying fires which require action, and clear responsibilities
and coordination mechanisms.
- Restoration –
after forest fires have been extinguished there remains the need
to prevent a spiral of recurrent fire and further degradation
in the short-term, and to help re-establish the forest's original
structure, biodiversity and functionality, over the long term.
Failure to consider appropriate restoration strategies results
in vulnerable people living in ever more precarious situations