COMMUNITY-BASED FIRE MANAGEMENT
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Protection of Religious and Other Cultural Assets against Wildfires
Many religious and other cultural heritage sites are embedded natural ecosystems that are subjected to wildfire risk. Within the regions of the Global Wildland Fire Network emphasis is given to support religious communities to protect temples, churches, mosques, monasteries, seminars, worship sites, including holy trees and groves. Examples of from Europe and the Near East:
- Forest Fire Threat in Qadisha Valley, Lebanon: Precautionary Action to Prevent Damage or Destruction of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Extract of a report of an Initial Project, submitted to UNESCO by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) (2010) (PDF, 4.6 MB)
- Wildfire Protection Plan for the Theological Seminary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Theological School of Heybeli Ada Island, Sea of Marmara, Turkey. Study conducted by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) (2014) (PDF, 16 MB)
- Landscape level fire risk assessment methodology demonstrated in Mt. Athos cultural heritage site. Study conducted by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) under the frame of the project “Fire Management concerning major Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites of the EUR-OPA countries (2014) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Mallinis, G. Mitsopoulos, I., Beltran, E. and Goldammer, J.G. 2016. Assessing wildfire risk in cultural heritage properties using satellite imagery and spatially explicit fire simulations: The Case of Holy Mount Athos, Greece. Forests 7, 46, 1-19. ISSN 1999-4907. doi:10.3390/f7020046 (PDF, 5 MB)
Protecting the Creation from Wildfires – The Roles of Religious Leaders and the Interfaith Dialogue
The religions of mankind assume a unity of man and his faith with nature and bow in respect to creation and the protection of the environment and man (cf. Heiler, Friedrich. 1958. Die Religionen der Menschheit (Kurt Goldammer, ed.), 9th Edition, Reclam, Stuttgart, 1999, 672 p). The GFMC and the Regional Fire Management Resource Centers are cooperating closely with religious leaders. In 2020, the Regional Fire Management Resource Center – South East Asia (RFMRC-SEA) worked with the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative:
- Interfaith Rainforest Initiative Declaration: Interfaith and Indigenous Communities for Indonesia Forests (Jakarta, Indonesia, 31 January 2020)
Audience and briefing with His Beatitude and Eminence Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant (center), with GFMC Director Johann Georg Goldammer (left) and Joseph Kreidi (UNESCO Regional Bureau, Beirut), and Mgr. Samir Mazloum, President of Community for the Salvation of the Qadisha Valley (COSAQ) (right), Lebanon, 04 September 2010.
Protection of cultural heritage to wildfire: GFMC Meeting at Couvent Saydet Qannoubine, a fortress palace for the Maronite Patriarchs from the 15th to the 19th centuries, with Mère Clemence Helou surrounded by Johann G. Goldammer (GFMC), Riad Keirouz, Mr. Joe Kreidi (UNESCO, Beirut), and Mr. Ghazi Qassar (Head, Centre des Forets du Liban Nord), 03 September 2010. © Photo: GFMC.
Impressions of the wildfire, which affected Chios Island (Greece) in August 2012: The wildfire burning in the highland forests of Chios threatened Nea Moni Monastery, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. © Photo: GFMC.
His Eminence Bishop Markos, Metropolitan of Chios, Psara and Oinousses, representative of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, addressing the Conference “Our Response to Wildfire Threat – Cooperation of a better Chios”, organized under by the Maria Tsakos Foundation, sponsored by the Minister of Mercantile Marine and Island Policy of Greece, and in cooperation of the Regional Prefecture of Chios Island; Omireion Cultural Center and Maria Tsakos Foundation, City of Chios, Chios, Greece.
Historic graveyard around a church in Serbia – use of fire to halt overgrowing of gravestones by vegetation encroachment. © Photo: GFMC (2007)
Fire also recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage
Based on a decision of the German UNESCO Commission and the Federal Conference of the Ministers of Culture of Germany the traditional Biikebrennen has been included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Germany on 12 December 2014. The Biikebrennen is the fire traditionally set on 21 February along the West coast of Schleswig-Holstein State since the 17th Century as a farewell sign to the whalers who were leaving at that time of the year to their long journeys.
“Biikebrennen” A cultural fire tradition has been included in the German UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage on 12 December 2014 (PDF, 0.1 MB)
- EL SALVADOR – In El Salvador, Adventist Young People Assist in Battling Mountain Fires (20 April 2021)
- NEPAL – Pathivara forest fire enters Kanchanjungha Conservation Area (29 December 2020)
- NEPAL: Forest fire in Pathivara Temple area in Taplejung goes out of control (Published by https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/ 26 December 2020)
- CHINA: China to step up efforts to ensure safety of cultural relics (Published by http://www.china.org.cn 20 April 2020)
- AUSTRALIA: Queensland priest prayed on his knees as bushfires engulfed surrounding hills (Published by https://catholicoutlook.org 16 September 2019)
- INDONESIA: Thousands of Pekanbaru residents perform Idul Adha prayers amid thick haze (Published by https://www.thejakartapost.com12 August 2019)
- RUSSIA: Shamans Summon Rains to Put Out Siberian Wildfires (Published by https://www.themoscowtimes.com/ 31 July 2019)
- CHINA: Six people killed by fires as Ching Ming Festival sees spike in burnt offerings at family tombs (Published by https://www.scmp.com/ 08 April 2019)
- USA: Tucson firefighters see counterparts in action on Israel mission (Published by https://azjewishpost.com/ 07 December 2018)
- VIETNAM: Benedictine monks see red over Vietnam forest fires (Published by https://www.ucanews.com/ 29 May 2018)
- INDIA: Vaishno Devi yatra resumes as choppers brought in to douse forest fire (Published by https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ 24 Nay 2018)
AUSTRALIA: Gidgegannup: Dhammasara Buddhist community nuns get property ready for fire season (published by http://www.communitynews.com.au 20 July 2017)
CHINA: Firefighters battling bush fire at Chinese cemetery in Penang (published by www.thestar.com.my 17 February 2017)
CHILE: Pope prays for victims of deadly wildfires in Chile (published by https://cruxnow.com 26 January 2017)
USA: Giant forest fires exterminate spotted owls (published by https://scienceblog.com 02 August 2016)
SOUTH AFRICA: Ghosts add fuel to the fire (published by https://www.news24.com/ 27 June 2015)
USA: Warm Springs brushfire stopped; cause found (published by www.ktvz.com 11 June 2015)
ARGENTINA: El incendio, por una vela (published by www.pagina12.com.ar 26 January 2015)