About Forest Fires
Fires are a natural phenomenon. However, over 90% of all wildland fires in forests and savannas today are due to human action and cause significant forest loss. On average, fires burn between 6-14 million hectares of forest per year worldwide leading to enormous economic losses, damage to environmental, recreational and amenity values, and even loss of life. Australia, South East Asia, West Africa, Europe, North America and the Russian Federation, have all faced serious fires in recent years. Equally in fire-dependant forest types, deliberate fire exclusion can be as big a problem as too much unwanted fire in fire sensitive biomes.
The Indonesian forest fires of 1997 and 1998 created enormous ecological damage and human suffering and helped focus world attention on the problem of forest and land fires. There is a strong recognition within IUCN that action is needed to catalyse a strategic international response to forest fires.
There are no "magic bullets" or "instant solutions". The issues to be addressed are complex and cut across many interests, sectors, communities, nations and regions. Understanding the underlying causes and socio-economic factors that lead to forest fires and finding appropriate practical and policy-level solutions to prevent, manage and counter them forms an important part of the Forest Conservation Programme's work.
|Experiences and lessons learned|