Options Magazine, Winter 2022: In a collaborative effort, researchers, practitioners, and managers created an overview of current wildland fire patterns and challenges across Europe.

Numerous factors impact the occurrence and severity of wildland fires in Europe, including changes in land use, which have modified fire patterns over the past two decades.

To better understand and prepare for increasing fire events, researchers often rely on satellite data of wildland fires across Europe. However, there is a crucial need to collect and analyze in-depth local  statistics and knowledge to fully understand wildland fire patterns and their implications for humans and the environment.

In a study published in the journal Air, Soil, and Water Research, Andrey Krasovskiy, a researcher in the IIASA Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program and his coauthors aim to provide an overview of current wildland fire patterns and challenges enhanced by national fire statistics across 31 European countries. To facilitate information exchange across these countries, researchers, practitioners, and managers collaborate within the COST Action “Fire and the Earth System: Science and Society”, an organization funded by the European Commission with the goal of better information sharing on wildland  fires.

"There is an increase in wildland fires across Europe that pose a risk to properties and human life due to the high population densities and sprawl into forested regions,” notes Krasovskiy. “Irrespective of changes in management, it is evident that climate change is very likely to increase the frequency and impact of wildland fires in the coming decades. Only with proper interdisciplinary research, can we hope to prepare against this grave threat.”

by Jeremy Summers


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