ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests: 8. Training and Public Education


ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests

8. Training and Public Education

Training and Extension Programs

Principle 25

Managers at various levels need to acquire and maintain knowledge of all aspects of forest fire management, as well as their responsibilities to maintain the health and sustainability of the forests. These managers include officials from forestry and other related ministries, as well as timber companies, contractors, and forest concession operators.

Recommended Action 25

  1. Identify the information and training needs for relevant managers, and where necessary disseminate appropriate materials and conduct seminars, workshops, short courses, and field training sessions dealing with the principles and application of forest fire management, including fire prevention and suppression.

Principle 26

People living near forests are often unaware that their activities may cause forest fires, and in some cases, can result in the destruction of forest ecosystems. Members of these communities, if motivated, properly trained and equipped, can be important sources of assistance in the prevention, control, and management of fires.

Recommended Action 26

  1. Prepare and conduct courses for forest authority officers, concession holders, and contractors staff for the “training of trainers” that can provide extension to local communities.

  2. Identify and recruit suitable members of the community to be trained in fire prevention measures and in the use of techniques and equipment, (including traditional tools), to suppress and manage fires.

  3. Prepare and conduct basic education programs, and provide extension materials for communities near the forest to increase their awareness on the importance of the forest environment and the role of fire.

  4. When required, provide caches of basic fire suppression tools, under strict control of responsible individuals, to be used in emergencies by people identified and trained in “b” above.

Principle 27

Communities living near the forest have traditional values which affect their attitude toward the forest as a living entity. Local people are influenced by community and spiritual leaders who are likely to be effective in extending information on fire protection.

Recommended Action 27

  1. Seek the cooperation of the community and spiritual leaders in fire management programs.

Principle 28

Within their areas, the vigilance and influence of NGOs and women’s groups can provide effective and prompt assistance in forest fire management programs.

Recommended Action 28

  1. Develop and conduct courses as necessary for leaders of NGOs and women’s groups on their roles in forest fire management programs, including the dissemination of information to the public on fire dangers to forest ecosystems; and the ways and means to reduce fire risks when enjoying the forest environment.


Public Education

Principle 29

Members of the public are affected by wildfires that result in the loss of wealth and livelihood and threaten forest ecosystems. Most people, including recreationists, are unaware of the causes of fires, and their economic and ecological impacts.

The public’s understanding of, and attitudes toward, the role and use of fire and forest management practices can best be improved through the education of children and youth.

Recommended Action #29

  1. Establish or enhance cooperation between forest authorities and education departments to allow for the design of suitable curriculums, and the conduct of education programs for elementary and secondary schools on forest and fire management. Explore ways to include non-traditional allies in the education campaign against fire.

  2. Use mass communication to provide information to the general public on the causes, impacts, and management of forest fires. The success of such public awareness campaigns will rely upon the selection of appropriate symbols and slogans which help stimulate the general public to identify themselves with the message. Seek cooperation and involvement of religious organizations, civic groups, and NGOs in public awareness campaign.

  3. Provide recreationists with information (e.g. pamphlets, leaflets), on the benefits that fire steals from them, and on their responsibilities for the prevention of fires starting from campfires and other recreational pursuits.

  4. Provide education on environmental issues, forest and natural resource management, and the impacts from wildfires at primary and secondary school levels.




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