Efficient fuel management and effective treatments
Looking to reduce wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires and their impact as well as general wildfire severity through strategic fuel management
One of the key challenges in combating Extreme Wildfire Events is the accumulation of excessive fuel loads, including dry vegetation and forest debris. These fuel loads act as potent accelerants, enabling fires to spread rapidly and intensify, making them difficult to control and extinguish. Inadequate fuel management practices and the absence of effective treatments contribute to the escalation of wildfire severity, posing significant risks to ecosystems, communities in WUI zones and elsewhere, and firefighting personnel.
Why the Problem exists?
The accumulation of excessive fuel loads is influenced by a range of factors, including natural processes, limited resources for fuel reduction efforts, and land management practices. Climate change-related factors, such as prolonged droughts and increased tree mortality, exacerbate the fuel buildup. In some cases, the historical suppression of natural fire regimes has disrupted the ecological balance, resulting in the accumulation of dense vegetation and debris. The lack of efficient fuel management strategies and effective treatments further compounds the problem, leading to more severe wildfire events.
Looking for solutions that completely or partially solve the following:
- Develop and implement efficient fuel reduction techniques that can effectively reduce the density and continuity of flammable vegetation.
- Adopt an integrated approach to vegetation management, considering the landscape’s ecological, social, and economic aspects.
- Encouraging shared responsibility and coordination can lead to comprehensive and widespread fuel reduction efforts, reducing the vulnerability of landscapes to severe wildfires.
- Explore innovative ways to utilise the biomass generated from fuel reduction efforts.
- Provide a Catalogue of fire treatments and recommendations.
- Reduction of available fuel.
- Effectiveness of fuel management treatments.
- Provide update information on fuel distribution and status.
- Environmental regulations, public perception, and logistical constraints.
- Financial constraints.
Fire Management Phase(s)
Prevention & Preparedness
Voice of the Living Lab(s)
“Making decisions on complex issues such as forest management to reduce fire risk or fire risk assessment needs to be supported by information such as soil moisture, the type and amount of fuel available, or the intensity and wind direction among others. These data, although may be available, are not up-to-date and are located on very different platforms, complicating continuous monitoring during fire seasons. Also, information about the response of the existing species in the different forest ecosystems in Catalonia to the effects of fire (fire ecology) and in the context of climate change (which species will be more adapted) is currently insufficient“.
- “Lack of long-term planning for fuel management projects and forest management in general, regardless of ownership status.
- Lack of human and financial resources to carry out activities related to fuel management.
- Delays in approving/ funding of fuel management projects: the submission of objections usually adds significant delays in the start of projects’ implementation. Work must be conducted between October and April, outside of the fire season.
- In logging residue management, there are no contractors available to collect the biomass and it therefore remains in the forest. It is not economically viable to transport it, especially in case of coastal pine forests. Forests of oak or beech are of more interest to companies. When large amounts of biomass are removed, there is an increased risk of nutrient removal from the forests“.
“We are now facing a decrease in the compliance with legal brushing obligations by owners, increasing the risk of fire outbreaks, spread and damage to human assets. However, houses are covered by insurances for fire risk and damage, regardless of the compliance with legal brushing“.
“There is a lot of information available on the weather, but less available data on the vegetation, and how the state of the vegetation changes with for example drought, temperature, wind and moisture.
• Meteorological data is to a great degree present
• Vegetation information is lacking
• Is there good tools to connect the two types of information?
• Current FWI (fire weather index) include some vegetation parameters, but use parameters developed for Canadian conditions.
• Data need to be differentiated between different regions
• Need to be easily visualised in a map“.
“There is no standardised information base that covers all or a large part of the possible spectrum of treatments focused on fuel changes, and associated with a set of parameters, also standardised, that allow to evaluate their impact on fuels, costs, fire behaviour“.