Fires are among the main natural disturbances affecting the world’s forests. In some regions like the Mediterranean basin, forest fires are defined as the major and most relevant disturbances because they can stay active for long time periods and damage forests irreversibly. Despite the big efforts of society in the contexts of fire prevention and extinction, large forest fires are recurrent events and often impact human settlements and infrastructures, threatening people’s lives. What are the reasons of this paradox? Does this mean that forest fires are uncontrollable?
This publication explains the complexity of the forest fire phenomenon and it provides a precise and updated picture of the current challenges that fires risk management has to deal with. It also offers recommendations to facilitate the handling and transference of information about forest fire. The main goals of this publication are promoting an improved understanding of the forest fire phenomenon and fostering the use of risk management procedures aimed at minimizing the hazards associated to forest fires and the vulnerability of the territory to this disturbance.