National guidelines on Forest Fire Management in Namibia

National Guidelines on Forest Fire Management in Namibia
Final Draft 31 March/2001

(IFFN No. 25 – July 2001)



Principles for Basic and Applied Research

Fire research will provide the basic information required for forest fire management. This information supports the development of various fire management practices, be it in communal or commercial areas.
Research is also required to determine fire techniques to apply for e.g. for range management or for silvicultural forest practices. Available resources as well as the terrain and biomass load will determine the tactics and techniques to be applied for each specific fire management case.
The issue regarding bush encroachment should be dealt with at the national Fire Forum since the problem deals with numerous stakeholders outside forestry.


Support co-operation between universities and local research institutions and if necessary with international partners, to undertake joint research on the following different aspects of forest fire:

a) Fire ecology;

  • with priority to study fire behaviour at all types of ecosystems
  • gather and analyze past, present fire knowledge (fire occurrence and ecological impact)
  • fire impact or prescription on natural regeneration e.g. Terminalia serisea

b) Basic science of fire;

  • fuel inventory and fuel modeling
  • fire behaviour models
  • fire danger index
  • fire risk and hazard mapping
  • fire weather forecasting
  • environmental impact modeling (social, economic and cultural)
  • impact of gaseous, smoke and particle emissions of fire on bio-chemical cycles, atmosphere and climate.

c) Socio-economic and cultural implications;

  • socio-economics and fire use
  • socio-cultural fire use and views of communities
  • research on swidden (shifting) cultivation
  • research of traditional gathering of non-wood forest products
  • research of hunting practices (honey, wildlife)

d) Smoke management;

  • application of burning techniques that may reduce and control smoke production
  • study of atmospheric aspects that allow smoke to be dispersed into upper atmosphere and not collect at the land surface
  • create demonstrations plots of successful prescribed burning results

e) Fuel management;

  • study the appropriate techniques for prescribed burning for various purposes
  • develop various grazing techniques for fuel reduction in critical areas
  • develop a standard for the construction and clearing of cut-lines or fuel breaks for both forested and non-forested areas
  • develop a fuel break system for commercial farms wherein fenced lines are cleared by the use of herbicides
  • Utilization of wood waste and other organic matters
  • Develop bush management techniques by the use of fire and browsing
  • Research on possible agricultural alternatives to shifting cultivation practices

Principles on the Co-ordination and Co-operation with International Institutions and Experts

Exchange of information on forest fire knowledge and fire management practices between forestry experts and researchers from all over the world is very important in enhancing co-ordination and collaboration in fire prevention and suppression activities. It also facilitates an efficient way of dealing with transboundary fire issues e.g. within Africa or SADC.


  • Select and organize training concerning information exchange methods. This would e.g. include the availability and accessibility of the daily fire scar monitoring at the Web sites of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC).
  • Organize periodic national and international seminars on forest fire management
  • Bridge fire knowledge with fire management and policy development by issuing periodic newsletters, journal, magazines, comic books, car stickers on forest fire research and development activities.

Country Notes
IFFN No. 25

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