Towards Capacitating Local Rural Communities in Self-Defense against Wildfires
In some regions of Europe rural settlements (villages, towns, scattered farmsteads) and other rural assets (agricultural fields / crops, infrastructures and other values at risk) are increasingly endangered by wildfires. This trend is driven by the consequences of land-use change, regional climate change and particularly by the rural exodus, which has resulted in the weakening of rural workforce and self-protection ability and increasing wildfire hazard on abandoned lands.
Recent major wildfire disasters in Europe reveal that government authorities and civil society, notably rural communities, are not sufficiently prepared to prevent and reduce the risk of wildfires, to defend rural communities and rural assets at risk, and to protect human health and altogether human security against the adverse direct and indirect impacts and consequences of wildfires.
Guidelines are needed that will provide information to local inhabitants (farmers, community leaders, local fire service units, volunteer firefighters and village defense committees) with state-of-the-art information on wildfire damage prevention measures, and pragmatic measures for the defense of settlements and rural assets threatened by wildfires.
In order to enhance the capabilities of local rural communities to defend themselves against wildfires a set of guidelines was developed in order to:
Provide a practical technical document designed as a support tool for the protection of people and local rural communities in the Balkan region from wildfires
Serve as a starting point and basis for the exchange of expertise and concepts within the Council of Europe / UNECE member states to continuously expand capacities in rural fire management.