GFMC Fire Management Guidelines

Fire Management Guidelines and Handbooks

Prepared by GFMC and Partners

These Fire Management Guidelines and Handbooks have been prepared or published by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and its partners:

Wildland Fire Management Handbook for Sub-Sahara Africa

This GFMC publication has been prepared by a consortium of 43 contributing authors. Hard copies of the 432-page volume are available for a subsidized price for the African market.

Reference: Goldammer, J.G., and C. de Ronde (eds.). 2004. Wildland Fire Management Handbook for Sub-Sahara Africa. Global Fire Monitoring Center and Oneworldbooks, Freiburg – Cape Town, 432 p. (ISBN 1- 919833-65-X).

Book orders:

Book flyer: Wildland Fire Management Handbook for Subsahara Africa (PDF, 200 KB)
Order form: Fax-Order Form (PDF, 120 KB)
Medium-resolution digital version (PDF, 11 MB)

Guidelines on Safe Fire Management on Contaminated Terrain

In 2014 the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commissioned the report Best Practices and Recommendations for Wildfire Suppression in Contaminated Areas, with Focus on Radioactive Terrain (Goldammer, J.G., Kashparov, V., Zibtsev, S., Robinson, S., Freiburg-Basel-Kyiv, 53. p.)

Health Guidelines for Vegetation Fire Events

At three major planning meetings, the GFMC supported the WHO to prepare guidelines together with a volume with background papers and a teacher’s guide. The volumes aim at contributing to prevent and manage disasters caused by smoke from vegetation fires and to mitigate their effects on human health:

References: Schwela, D.H., J.G. Goldammer, L.H. Morawska, and O. Simpson. 1999. Health Guidelines for Vegetation Fire Events. Guideline document. Published on behalf of UNEP, WHO, and WMO. Institute of Environmental Epidemiology, Ministry of the Environment, Singapore. Double Six Press, Singapore, 291 p.

Goh, K.T., D.H. Schwela, J.G. Goldammer, and O. Simpson. 1999. Health Guidelines for Vegetation Fire Events. Background Papers. Published on behalf of UNEP, WHO, and WMO. Institute of Environmental Epidemiology, Ministry of the Environment, Singapore. Namic Printers, Singapore, 498 p.

Schwela, D.H., L.H. Morawska, and Abu Bakar bin Jafar. 1999. Health Guidelines for Vegetation Fire Events. Teachers’ Guide. Published on behalf of UNEP, WHO, and WMO. Institute of Environmental Epidemiology, Ministry of the Environment, Singapore. Double Six Press, Singapore, 114 p.

Online Publication:

ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests

The sixth publication in the ITTO Policy Development Series aims to provide practical assistance to member countries as they address issues and develop fire management principles to ensure the protection and sustainable management of tropical forests. The guidelines were drafted under the leadership of the GFMC in 1994 and finalized by a group of experts in 1996.

Reference: International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). 1997. ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests. ITTO Policy Development Series No.6. ITTO, Yokohama, 40 p.

Online Publication:

GFMC Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests

Beginning in the 1980s the GFMC has developed the first training handbooks for Forestry colleges in Brazil and Burma (Myanmar). These handbooks have a historic significance and relied on own and other internationally available illustrations. The overview paper “Fire management in tropical forests” was developed for students in Indonesia and based on the fire management chapter in the 1993 and 2016 issues of the “Tropical forestry handbook (Goldammer, J.G. 2016. Fire management in tropical forests. In: The tropical forestry handbook [L. Pancel and M. Koehl, eds.], Second Edition, Vol. 3, 2659-2710. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg. ISBN 9783-642-54600-6).

  • Goldammer, J.G. 1982. Incêndios florestais. Prevençào, controle e uso do fogo. Destaque especial para os reflorestamentos de Pinus spp. Colégio Florestal Irati, 93 p. (GTZ) (PDF, 3.0 MB).
  • Goldammer, J.G. 1986. Technical and Vocational Forestry and Forest Industries Training, Burma. Introduction to Forest Fire Management. FAO Rome, 159 p. FO: DP/BUR/81/001, Field Document No. 6 (PDF, 17.0 MB).
  • Goldammer, J.G. 2018. Fire management in tropical forests. An Introduction for Students of Forest Sciences of the Regional Fire Management Resource Center –South East Asia (RFMRC-SEA) at Bogor Agricultural University. Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC).

Guidelines on Fire Management in Temperate and Boreal Forests

This FAO Guidelines document was developed under the aegis of GFMC in 2002. The guidelines are considered to be open for discussion and additional inputs that may be included successively.

Online publication:

Alternatively, on the GFMC repository:

Fire Management Voluntary Guidelines

The UN Fire Management Voluntary Guidelines outline the Principles and Strategic Actions necessary for policy, planning and senior management decision makers to achieve more integrated and cross-sectoral approaches to fire management. The guidelines have been developed in response to the outcomes of the FAO Ministerial Meeting on Forests and the 17th Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry, March 2005 (Rome, Italy 2005), which called upon FAO, in collaboration with countries and other international partners, including the UNISDR, to develop a Strategy to Enhance International Cooperation in Fire Management, that advanced knowledge, increased access to information and resources and explored new approaches to cooperation at all levels. GFMC contributed with inputs from the UNISDR Global Wildland Fire Network.

Online publication:

Alternatively on the GFMC repository:

Landscape Fire Governance Framework 2023: Guiding Principles for Adjusting Strategies, Policies, and Management to Global Change

In preparation of the 8th International Wildland Fire Conference (Porto, Portugal, May 2023) a team of landscape fire experts developed a paper, which provides background, rationale and guiding principles for improving landscape fire governance. The initial paper “The International Landscape Fire Management Framework: Guiding Principles for Adjusting Policies and Governance to Global Change” was later entitled:

Handbook on Forest Fire Control: A Guide for Trainer

The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has supported the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Fire Management by financing the review of the “Handbook on Forest Fire Control, A Guide for Trainers” to incorporate the more holistic approaches. The “Handbook on Wildland Fire Management for Trainers” will target field trainers/instructors, and thus complement the other recent Wildland Fire Management Handbooks; for Sub-Sahara Africa (2004), for North-East Asia (2006) in Russian, produced by the UNISDR and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC). This handbook production was supported by GFMC.

Reference: Heikkila, T.V., R. Gronqvist, and M. Jurvélius. 2007. Wildland Fire Management: Handbook for Trainers. Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Development Policy Information Unit. Helsinki, Finland, 236 p. (ISBN-13: 978-951-724-581-4)

In 2013, an updated version of the handbook was published in Russian with the editorial support by Andrey M. Eritsov (Aerial Fire Center of Russia Avialesookhrana):

Reference: Heikkilä, T., R. Grönqvist, M. Jurvélius and J.G. Goldammer. 2013. Handbook on Forest Fire Control (in Russian). Pushkino, Helsinki and Freiburg, 269 p.

Defense of Villages, Farms and Other Rural Assets against Wildfires: Guidelines for Rural Populations, Local Communities and Municipality Leaders in the Balkan Region

In many regions globally 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. In order to enhance the capabilities of local rural communities to defend themselves against wildfires a set of guidelines was developed for the Balkans as a pilot region, designed to be adapted to the conditions of other regions and countries as deemed appropriate:

Other Public-Domain Fire Management Guidelines

Russian Handbooks Published by Greenpeace of Russia and the Aerial Forest Fire Center of Russia Avialesookhrana

The following two publications have been prepared after the 2010 fire season. The first publication by Greenpeace includes recommendations for organizing volunteer fire brigades, how to use and observe regulations, and information on fire centers and other services.

Another Handbook for Volunteers Fire Brigades has been developed jointly by Greenpeace of Russia and the Aerial Forest Fire Center Avialesookhrana of the Federal Forestry Agency of Russia. This handbook consists of information about forest fires, rules, and regulations, firefighting tactics and methods, equipment, firefighter safety, etc. A special chapter is on first medical care.

With accelerating land-use change and climate change in temperate-boreal Eurasia the properties of organic terrain, which has accumulated in wetlands (moors, mires, and peat and turf lands), are gradually changing and becoming increasingly flammable. This is especially the case in wetlands that have been drained in the 19th and 20th centuries. After the severe drought and widespread wildfires in Western Russia in 2010, which had penetrated desiccated organic terrain and caused severe damages of biodiversity and air quality, the Greenpeace Russia Fire Programme and the All-Russian Institute of Continuous Education in Forestry (ARICEF) developed a manual with recommendations for fire management in peatlands. The first edition of the handbook was published 2015. An updated version was published in 2020:

Manual for the Control of Fire in Peatlands and Peatland Forest

This Manual for the Control of Fire in Peatland and Peatland Forest contains information on (1) fire control, (2) factors which support fire, (3) government policy on fire control, and (4) strategies and techniques for the control of land and forest fires in peatland areas. The information presented in this book, besides including a variety of concepts and practical measures for the prevention and suppression of fire already written/presented by others, also contains ideas and recent field experience of the writers in the handling of land and forest fires in peatland areas of Kalimantan and Sumatera. The writing of this book has been funded by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) through the CCFPI project (Climate Change, Forests and Peatlands in Indonesia), and is produced by Wetlands International – Indonesia Programme in cooperation with Wildlife Habitat Canada.

Reference: Adinugroho W.C., I Nyoman N. Suryadiputra, Bambang H. Saharjo, and Labueni Siboro. 2005. Manual for the Control of Fire in Peatlands and Peatland Forest. Climate Change, Forests and Peatlands in Indonesia Project. Wetlands International Indonesia Programme and Wildlife Habitat Canada. Bogor, Indonesia, 162 p. ISBN: 979-99373-7-X (Wetlands International – Indonesia Programme).

Manejo del Fuego (in Spanish, by Marcos Pedro Ramos Rodriguez, Universidad de Pinar del Rio, Cuba, 2010)

Este libro contiene informacion sobre: (1) Fuego y medio ambiente (2) Comportamiento del fuego (3) Proteccion contra incendios forestales (4) Evaluacion de los efectos provocados los incedios forestales, sumarizando de forma detallada las tecnicas y habilidades tanto para el manejo del fuego como para el combate de incendios forestales en general.

Guidelines and Manual of Procedures for Community-Based Fire Management (Ghana)

These guidelines have been produced in the frame of the ITTO-supported project “Fire-Management and Post-Fire Restoration with Local Community Collaboration in Ghana” (2005-2010) and call for wide application in West Africa and beyond:

Guidebook for Prescribed Burning in the U.S. Southern Region

Prescribed fire is a key tool for those who own or manage land in the Southeastern United States. It creates important habitat for game and nongame wildlife, clears out vegetation to reduce wildfire risk, connects people to their cultural heritage, and has many other important benefits. This guidebook will take you step-by-step through the processes involved in planning, preparing for and conducting a prescribed fire on lands in the Southern Region of the U.S.A. The peer-reviewed volume has been published by the University of Georgia in cooperation with Fort Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and counties of the state.

Agricultural Fire Management Guidelines – Victoria, Australia 

All public and private landowners and managers in Victoria have legislated responsibilities regarding fire management. This document integrates the legal responsibilities arising from relevant fire management legislation with advice to help landowners and managers form an overall picture of what is needed to achieve fire safety on rural properties. 

Fire Monitoring Handbook – USDI National Park Service 

Fire is a powerful and enduring force that has had, and will continue to have, a profound influence on National Park Service (NPS) lands. Restoring and maintaining this natural process are both important management goals for many NPS areas. Therefore, information about the use and effects of prescribed fire on park resources is critical to sound, scientifically-based management decisions. Using results from a high quality monitoring pro-gram to evaluate your prescribed fire management program is the key to successful adaptive management. The handbook presents detailed instructions for fire monitoring in a variety of situations. The instructions are organized around the management strategies frequently used to meet specific objectives.

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