Velez, R.1996. FAO Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions – Silva Mediterranea. Int. Forest Fire News. No. 15, 48-49
Activities of the Forest Fire Network in 1995
The year 1995 has been a period of review for the programme of activities concerning the Forest Fire Network. The new Coordinator of the Network, Mr. Ricardo Vélez, sent in January a draft of a new programme of activities in order to verify the availability of the “focal points” of the Network in every country. The answer has been irregular, sometimes dramatic, like that from Irak informing that all forest areas were outside of the Government control, so without any forest fire management. There is evident need for reshaping the composition of the “focal points” roster. Silva Mediterranea has a very limited budget, so its activities have to be those developed by the specialized teams working in every country, with the Committee playing the role of animator.
In February, as a result of the personal connections helped by the Network, a group of Greek experts visited Spain in order to learn about the forest fire organization and, specifically, experience in the utilization of the amphibious aircraft CL-215 T with turboprop engines. G.Xanthopoulos was the technical leader of the group. The ICONA staff in Madrid provided all the information requested.
In April a meeting was held in Geneva to coordinate the collection and presentation of statistics on forest fires by the ECE Timber Committee, the FAO Silva Mediterranea and the DG VI of the EU (see IFFN No.13, July 1995, pp.29-31).
In June the Mediterranean Agronomical Institute of Chania (MAICh) organized a short course on forest fire management, coordinated by A.Dimitrakopoulos, with D.G.Xanthopoulos (Greece), R.Vélez (Spain), R.McAlpine (Canada) and J.Agee (USA).
Also in June ICONA (Spain) published a summary of results of the socio-economical research developed in the last three years on “Motivations of arsonism and traditional practices for the use of fire in woodlands”. It is recommended that this summary is translated into other languages of use in the Mediterranean Region, to serve as a basis for a future “Workshop on prevention of deliberate fires in woodlands”.
During the summer the connections established in the Mediterranean Region facilitated the support provided by Italy and France to fight forest fires in Attica (Greece). Portugal requested assistance from Spain. However, the requests were all made when the circumstances in Spain were critical and all resources were committed in its own suppression activities. In September a French mission, headed by Mr. P.Michaut, visited ICONA (Spain) to obtain information on the application of new technologies for forest fire management in Spain.
In October the University of Bari (Italy) organized a short course on Planification of Forest Fire Management Activities, developed by V.Leone (Italy) and R.Vélez (Spain).
Also in October a meeting for the evaluation of the INRA research programme on forest fires, headed by Mr. J.-Ch. Valette, was held in Avignon (France). This programme concentrates on three foci:
Start and spread of a fire. Improvement of the risk indices and fire behaviour modelling;
Fire impacts on forest trees;
Forest fuel management.
During the month of October a new training video was finished by ICONA (Spain) on “Preventive silviculture”. Spain has developed a series of videos with 14 titles, as a basic tool for the training of all personnel. A special edition in French and in English is in preparation, in order to allow its utilization in all Mediterranean countries.
In November the Mediterranean Agronomical Institute of Montpellier finished the edition of the proceedings of the Workshop CIHEAM/FAO/Silva Mediterranea on databases on forest fires and their uses, held in December 1993. These proceedings have been published in Options Mediterranéennes Nº 25 (see p.64 of this volume).
As a follow-up of the 1993 Workshop a Course on Practical Applications of Forest Fire Data Bases is being organized for April 1996 by the Mediterranean Agronomical Institute of Saragosse with FAO Silva Mediterranea and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. In this course a practical training will be given on the CEE data base (DG VI), the EGIF data base (Spain) and the PYROSTAT data base, developed by the Mediterranean Agronomical Institute of Chania (MAICh).
Another activity in 1996 will be the publication of a Manual of Forest Fire Management (in French) with the cooperation of FAO, the MAI Saragosse and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture.
From: Ricardo Vélez Coordinator of the FAO/Silva Mediterranea Network on Forest Fires Address: General Direction of Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment Gran Vía de San Francisco 4 E – 28005 Madrid, Spain