Regional South America Wildland Fire Management Network

A Region of the Global Wildland Fire Network


Primer Simposio Regional de Cooperacion en Manejo del Fuego Inter-Fronterizo en Sudamerica

Parque Nacional Santa Teresa, Uruguay, 30 de Mayo al 02 Junio 2016

Background and Rationale

Forests and other vegetation in South America are becoming increasingly affected by climate change and socio-economic and land-use changes. One of the major problems associated with this development is the increasing vulnerability, occurrence and damages caused by wildfires. In Southern South America fires used for cleaning agricultural and pasture lands are the main causes for uncontrolled wildfires entering natural forests, industrial forest plantations and protected areas. In the recent years large fires exceeded the response capabilities of nations and prompted governments to call for assistance by neighbouring countries in order to manage the wildfire emergency situations. Such mutual international assistance is effective and efficient if participating nations are prepared by bilateral agreements, protocols and commonly exercised procedures. The South America Regional Wildland Fire Network, which is operating as one of 14 regional networks under the Global Wildland Fire Network and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), has initiated the regional dialogue and exchange of information in fire management.

It is now important to take the next steps towards the creation of interoperability between neighbouring nations for wildfire crisis management. Common standards for training and firefighting operations are essential for enhancing the preparedness for cooperative safe, effective and efficient wildfire response.

Participants and Objectives

The regional symposium, which was facilitated by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture based on a decision of the German Bundestag, was attended by representatives of the forest services and fire services of Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay and observers from other agencies of Uruguay.

The objectives included:

  • Regional exchange of information on wildfires occurrence, fire management and fire emergency response of the participating nations: Representatives of each country presented the situation in their home country, including experiences in cooperation with neighboring countries in training and responding to wildfire emergencies.
  • Briefing of participating countries about international initiatives in cooperation in fire management: The work of the Global Wildland Fire Network operating under the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the voluntary International Wildfire Preparedness Mechanism (IWPM) was introduced by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC).
  • Introduction of training materials for capacity building in cross-boundary fire management: The EuroFire Competency Standards and Training Materials were presented in Spanish and Brazilian / Portuguese for future in national training, with emphasis for enhancing interoperability between participating South American countries. Furthermore, the concept and draft of the International Fire Aviation Guidelines were introduced.
  • Regional fire management demonstration and exercise: The presence of representatives of the different nations was used to demonstrate firefighting and fire use techniques together with local Uruguayan fire service units and military.
  • Regional Fire Management Symposium: Discussion were held about the future use of the EuroFire training standards for joint regional trainings, as well as the test of the International Fire Aviation Guidelines; development for recommendations for official bilateral agreements or multilateral frameworks within South America to systematically enhance preparedness and response to wildfire emergencies by cross-border cooperation.

Organizers: Host and Supporting Organizations

The Symposium was organized jointly by the

  • Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), Secretariat of the Global Wildland Fire Network and the International Wildfire Preparedness Mechanism (IWPM), with financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Agriculture, by decision of the German Bundestag, within the frame of the project “Support of National and Regional Competency in Integrated Fire Management to Secure Sustainable Forest Management in Uruguay and through Cross-border Cooperation with Brazil and other Neighbouring Countries of South America”
  • Regional South America Wildland Fire Network (Coordinators: Ibama / Prevfogo, Brazil, and CONAF, Chile)

The Symposium was supported by the

  • Sistema Nacional de Emergencias (SINAE)
  • Dirección General Forestal (DGF), Ministério de Ganadería Agricultura y Pesca
  • Dirección Nacional de Bomberos (DNB), Ministério del Interior
  • Ejercito del Uruguay

Symposium Agenda

Symposium Recommendations

Top: Participants of the Regional Symposium
Middle: Presentations of national fire management reports (left)
Introduction by the EuroFire Standards in Spanish and Brazilian (right)
Lower: The audience and the Organizing Committee

EuroFire Materials

The brochure with the EuroFire Standards in Spanish and partially in Brazilian can be downloaded by clicking on the envelope (PDF, 5.0 MB)

Recommendation elaborated by the Symposium participants

The participants of the First Regional Symposium on Cross-Boundary Cooperation in Fire Management in South America jointly recommended:

  • Address vegetation fires in the context of climate change and develop action with regards to mitigation and adaptation, encourage the leadership of countries to consider fire management as an important activity to meet the obligations by the Paris Agreement within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of 2015
  • Systematic improvement of cooperation in fire management between South American countries through a more formalized membership and activities under the Regional South America Wildland Fire Network (officially nominated focal points) and aim at obtaining finances e.g. from the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela), and Pacto Andino (Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador y Perú)
  • Implementation and further development of the Regional Strategy for Fire Management
  • Development of fire management policies by countries participating in the regional network
  • Improvement of consistent regional vegetation fire statistical data collection (development of guidelines / template) and evaluation (e.g. through the secretariat of the Regional South America Wildland Fire Network)
  • Development of guidelines and SOPs for enhancing inter-operability of countries cooperating in cross-boundary fire management, notably for improving effectiveness and efficiency of cross-border cooperation and mutual assistance during wildfire emergencies, including testing and application of the International Fire Aviation Guidelines
  • Encourage more scientific research addressing the socio-economic, cultural and environmental (climate change related) trends affecting fire regimes and fire management in the region; and conduct an in-depth analysis of satellite data on type and extent of areas burned by wildfires or land-use fires.

In summary, it is concluded that the symposium contributed to enhancing the visibility, effectiveness, and inter-operability of regional cooperation in fire management.

Presentations given at the Symposium

Country reports

International cooperation

EuroFire presentations


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