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Learning to live with fire
04 August 2011
Irstea (formerly Cemagref)
European forests are regularly attacked by fire with often disastrous ecological, economic and social consequences. The most common reaction has been to fight fires at all costs. Today, a new concept for managing fire is emerging, taking into account its positive aspects.
When correctly managed, fire is a means to prevent and fight uncontrolled events by limiting the accumulation of combustible vegetation.
This idea lies at the heart of the European Fire Paradox project to improve our knowledge on fire, how it starts, how it grows and how it can be used to prevent and fight forest fires over large areas. Software has been developed to simulate fires and anticipate their propagation, and a guide has been drafted to assist in indentifying zones at risk in which buildings are in close contact with forests.
Territorial managers, fire fighters, local governments, etc. now have the necessary tools to pinpoint the zones at risk and take action to limit the risks of forest fires.