The forests of Albania cover an area of ca. 1 million hectares (all state forests) and are especially fire prone during the warm and dry summers. The protection of forests is therefore a continuing task for the Forest Service and also for the whole population. A variety of measures are taken in fire prevention, including public awareness campaigns, and fire fighting. These measures and the willingness of the public to assist in forest fire protection have reduced the number of fires to 147 and the area affected by fire to about 250 ha in 1991. The fire statistics (Tab.1) show that during the last decade the average number of wildland fires (mainly shrubland) was 116 and the average area affected by fire was 203 ha.
The responsibility for forest protection lies with the district forest organs or the forest services. Practically all fires are caused by man (negligence, pasture burning). Most damages occur in the coniferous forests. The fire management measures carried out by the State and by the General Directorate of Forest Economy through the district forest enterprises are: operation of an observing signalization system, fire vigilance throughout the fire danger period, and the construction of firebreaks.
Up to now the centralized economy of our country has been successful in mobilizing villagers and town population to participate in forest fire protection. Under the recently created conditions of the market economy people are becoming more indifferent towards forest fire outbreaks.
It is hoped that the continuation of the forest fire protection efforts by the forest administration of Albania will be supported by the neighbouring countries Greece, Yugoslavia, and Italy, and by the Federal Republic of Germany.
Tab.1 Number and area affected by wildland fires in Albania in the period 1981-1991