Published On: November 11, 2022

Extreme fires: past trends and future scenarios

We recently celebrated our 4th Plenary Meeting together with a special Symposium in Dresden, Germany. After a summer of extreme wildfires, all project partners were eager to share experiences, discuss challenges, and learn from efforts currently underway. The meeting was an enriching experience for the partners, and many fruitful in-depth conversations took place.

During the first two days of the meeting, representatives of all partner institutions shared the progress made on the different tasks of the project. We explored fire risk across Europe, including its natural and socioeconomic impacts, and the implications of changing fire regimens. We also discussed plans regarding our pilot sites in Northern, Central and Southern Europe, as these areas play a critical role as testing grounds for the solutions developed in the project.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a visit to the beautiful Saxon Switzerland National Park. Project partners had the chance to assess the consequences of the blaze that affected the Park, ravaging 800 hectares of forest in July 2022 – an impressive reminder of the importance of integrated wildfire management.

Learnings of wildfire risk from Central Europe

On the third and final day, we welcomed local authorities and researchers from 17 countries to the symposium “Forest Fires in Central Europe – Preparing for a New Reality”. The goal of the event was to exchange data and knowhow between experts regarding the management of extreme wildfires in Central European countries.

We want to give a special mention to our colleagues from the Regional Eastern Europe Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) in Ukraine who participated online to share their insights on forest fire risk and forest fuel modelling in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, work that’s being conducted as part of FirEUrisk. Overall, the war has brought immense challenges for forest fire management and suppression in Ukraine. As a result, and even though the 2022 fire season was not extreme, nearly 1,6 million hectares of forests in Eastern Ukraine have been impacted by fires.

Valuable interactions for moving forward in the project

All in all, the 3-day plenary meeting provided the partners with the possibility to put each other up to date on the advances of the different work packages. In the words of our coordinator, Professor Domingos Viegas: “Meeting all partners in person gave us the confirmation that the work is running smoothly. These meetings give us the space to get to know each other, exchange ideas, discuss plans, and move our work forward”. Nearly halfway through the project, Professor Viegas is confident FirEUrisk will achieve its objectives, since “much work has already been accomplished”.

Thanks to the Technical University of Dresden for the excellent organisation of the meeting, as well as everyone who attended, both in person and online.

Until we meet again, stay tuned and follow our progress on Twitter and LinkedIn!

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