The Forest Firesof 2003: lessons learned and their practical use”
26-27 May 2004,Madrid, Spain
Inthe last years, forest fires affecting the Wildland-Urban Interface and RuralAreas (W-UI/RA) have populated news front-pages around the world, as one of themost dramatic natural events in which human lives and properties are threatenedand destroyed. Several recent examples in USA, Australia, Asia and Europe havetrespassed the circle of fire managers, specialists and scientist, touchingdirectly public sensibility as a matter of main preoccupation. Fires in theW-UI/RA have been studied and characterised in USA, Canada and Australia, amongother countries, for decades.
Lookingat this experience, a number of co-funded research projects are now focusinginto the reality of W-UI/RA fire management in Europe. Within the scope of oneof these projects, entitled WARM (Wildland-Urban Area Fire Risk Management),this third international workshop is organized as follow-up of the firstworkshop on W-UI/RA on user needs held in Marseille (France) in June 2002 andthe second international workshop on “Forest Fires in the Wildland-UrbanInterface and Rural Areas in Europe: an integral planning and managementchallenge” held on May 15-16, 2003, in Athens, Greece.
Theproject WARM is focused on the problem of forest fire in areas where there is aninterface of forests and settlements. Its general objective is to identify andcharacterise direct and indirect risks to the human activity due to the fireoccurrence in the wildland-urban interface (W-UI) in Europe. WARM aims toprovide a methodology to minimise losses of residences and other structures,while reducing social and environmental impact. An information system is plannedto offer assistance in the elaboration of rationalised, encompassed wildfiredefence plans. The project is co-funded by the Direction of Environment of theEuropean Commission within the 5th Framework Research Program.
Theobjective of this third International Workshop of the WARM project is to givethe opportunity to various research groups and operational managers of theEuropean countries to meet and exchange points of view and research findingsconcerning the fire problems encountered in areas where forest and rural areasintermix, creating the so-called Wildland-Urban interfaces (WUI) which havebecome quite extensive in the last decades. The disastrous forest fires of 2003in most countries of Mediterranean Europe, which affected many wildland-urbaninterface areas and caused massive destruction and even deaths of citizens andfirefighters, are the central focus of the workshop. More specifically theWorkshop aims to:
Document the extent and characteristics of the problems in various European countries.
Develop a clear picture of current planning conditions and practices in the W-UI/RA, the problems encountered, and the actors involved.
Identify similar types of W-UI/RA areas, where common planning and fire management practices can be effectively applied.
Identify and/or propose methods, models and planning techniques for managing W-UI/RA areas and for fighting fires there.
Identify social trends and approaches as related to W-UI/RA areas problems creation and to acceptance of management interventions.
Theworkshop is organized by: TECNOMAS.A., Madrid, Spain (the coordinator of theWARM project).
Dr. GavriilXanthopoulos, NAGREF IMFE&FPT, Athens, Greece (Chairman of the ScientificCommittee).
Dr.Domingos Xavier Viegas, Professor, ADAI, University of Coimbra, Portugal
Dr. Ricardo VélezMuñoz, Director of Forest Fire Protection, DGCONA, MMA, Madrid, Spain.