In Italy firefighters across the nation are fighting hundreds of wildfires. The fires are being fuel due to a mix of drought and heat. This is the latest of a string of fires that have ravaged the Mediterranean. In June, fires in Portugal caused the deaths of 64 persons within Pedrogao Grande, in the Leira district.
Then, shortly following, Spanish forests were engulf in fire. Requiring the evacuation of over 1,500 people from their homes and camping sites. The likelihood of fires is high in summer months, however, they rarely have devastating effects. These fires call for a rethinking of the way landscapes are protect to preserve. Ecosystems as the region’s population and climate are rapidly changing.
In the present, even regions with an extensive history of fire, like the Mediterranean and southern Australia. And the western United States, are seeing more fire-related risks as a result of an increasing temperature and rising number of people. That reside in areas with densely forested terrains.
It’s not like southern Europeans are shifting to the forests in the first place actually. All across the Mediterranean the years of social and economic change have resulted. The decline of rural populations as more people migrate to bigger cities. In 1950, more than 50 percent of the Spanish population resided in rural regions. In 1990, this number had dropped by more than 25%.
The result is that landscapes that used to be tiny-scale mosaics of farmland grasslands. And wide-open forests today are dominat dense, young forests. For an example, look at the photos below of the similar Spanish landscape from the 1900s , and even today.
Plantations in forests, which are grown to make money and safeguard soil, could be a fire risk. When they’re affect by drought conditions. So , how do modern Mediterranean landscapes with their increasing load of fuel, lessen the negative consequences of fires?
The Fire Must Be Refuel Wildfires
Strategies that integrate and consider the diverse environmental. Social and economic fire-related factors can provide solutions for rural as well as urban landscapes. The process of removing fires which includes the use of sophisticated firefighting vehicles. To put out fires as soon as they begin is the most popular method of managing fires for Mediterranean ecosystems.
Suppression is a crucial method to keep homes and people secure. However its effectiveness comes with a drawback as it can cause the vegetation to grow. Increasing the chance of future negative flames across large areas of the territory.
To control this plant and leaf litter The practice of burned-off prescribed. That decreases or breaks down the connection of this fuel is becoming more prevalent in the southern part of Europe. This method is more effective in certain areas in comparison to other areas. Fires aren’t just control by fuels, but also through interactions with topography, climate and local conditions.
For instance, research has suggested that the prescribed burn can be more effective in reducing accidental fires. That are not planned in Portugal as oppose to Spain possibly due to the larger impact within Portugal on bottom-up. Drivers such as fuel as opposed to top-down drivers climate, for example as well as weather.
Strategic Management Wildfires
It is especially effective when it is target in strategic management points. As well as in rural and urban areas close to homes as well as other assets. In rural areas, specifically connecting efforts to reduce fuel consumption in conjunction with agricultural practices. And forestry which benefit local economies and promoting. The bioeconomy creates opportunities for better management.
In addition of sustainable forest practices, they can be employ to develop more open spaces. With wide spaced trees, which prevents the spread of fire between trees. This harvesting practice can also help local economies through the creation of employment. Opportunities in the fields of forestry or energy-related production.
Grazing is yet another method to decrease the burden of fuel for rural communities. France is currently incorporating this method in its fire management methods, and it’s currently being test by Catalonia, Spain.
Agriculture too can reduce the interconnectedness of forest fuels, and decrease wildfire danger. The introduction of new crops, like vineyards and truffles. On previously abandon landscapes, can be use in the role of green firebreaks. Though researchers and land managers are only beginning to investigate this possibility.
Participation Of Local Communities
The need to educate citizens on wildfires is an essential aspect of these preventive. Strategies to stop wildfires from becoming catastrophes. Informing individuals about the safety of their homes as well as when to evacuate dangerous areas, and when to take shelter in a safe place crucial actions that must taken to minimize the danger of fire that are currently occurring across the Mediterranean.
It is best to do this by a participative approach which puts local communities in the center of the process. In other words, the stakeholders should be include throughout the planning process (not just prior to or after a fire).
To gain widespread social support for the fire-fighting efforts It is essential to unite and empower decision-making teams composed of diverse people from different sectors including wildlife and farmers groups to local business.
One instance where this responsibility sharing can be beneficial for this Mediterranean basin is by integrating the risk of wildfire into the spatial development of rural and urban zones. It is important to make decisions about the location and method of building new homes must be based on an educated assessment of fire risks and all parties should be aware of the rationale behind these choices.
Benefits Of Fire
Fire, however, isn’t always good. Many animals and plants depend on fire for their survival, and the right type of fire can help promote biodiversity. The plants in Mediterranean ecosystems, certain plants require the help of fire in order to finish their cycles. Others are adapt, like dense bark or the ability to grow a new leaf, which aids recuperation after the fire.
Animals can also benefit from the open spaces that are create by burning. For example the ortolan bunting an agricultural bird species which has decreased across a large portion of Europe is a colony that inhabits recent areas of fire. However, flora and fauna aren’t adapt to all fire regimes. Therefore, the success of biodiversity conservation relies on an understanding of how spatial and temporal pattern of fires affect species.
Understanding how animals, plants as well as fires and others interact are important in determining the time and place the location of future fires due to an ever-changing climate. Nowadays, models and data of the spread and frequency of fire can be use to determine the potential hazards of fire, and also consider how they may affect the lives of the lives of people.
It is impossible to completely eliminate fire risk. However, more integrated strategies that take into account the specific environmental, social and economic elements that exist in the diverse regions affected by fire in the Mediterranean will be a great way to ensure the protection of people and ecosystems to withstand the pressures extreme warming of the climate.