The strategic actions are intended to assist planners and managers, landholders, local groups and communities of interest in the holistic management of fire. They can also be used as a checklist to assess organizational capacity.
Fire and resource management planning should be based on a legal, institutional and policy framework. This framework provides the basis and structure for strategic and tactical planning and implementation actions.
The legal framework comprises broad, multisectoral resource management plans. These plans elaborate the management, protection and restoration of land and resources. Generally, a resource management plan does not determine the use or designation of an area, but sets out the activities and procedures that will be used to fulfill the legislative, institutional or individual mandate.
A fire management plan is one level below the resource management plan, although it is possible to develop the former without the latter in place. The fire management plan should address all actions listed within this section. In some situations, it may be best to develop individual plans for selected sections, such as fire prevention or the use of planned fire. However inclusive the fire management plan is, safety should be a principal component.
In areas in which the climate is marked by wide variation, planning for extreme events is important. Resource allocation, prioritization and community engagement during periods of severe fire danger are keys to protecting civilians and assets.
Strategic actions for fire and resource management planning include but are not limited to:
4.1.1 All fire management plans and activities should be based on a clear and comprehensive policy, legal and institutional framework.
4.1.2 Plans should be prepared at an appropriate level of detail for every aspect of fire management, including use, prevention, fuel management, detection, initial attack, large-fire suppression and restoration.
4.1.3 A policy should be established that sets the safety of firefighters, fire managers and the public as the highest priority.
4.1.4 In areas where multiple agencies or organizations have fire management responsibilities, a process should be developed to determine, in advance of a fire, who will assume the lead role and duties.
4.1.5 Resource management plans should include analysis of the actions that increase or decrease the risk and hazards affecting fire behaviour, fire damage or benefit, as well as impacts on the safety of firefighters, fire managers and the public.
4.1.6 Plans should be based on the types of ecosystems, potential fire effects, fire regimes, and social, economic and environmental values.
4.1.7 Plans should provide for infrequent but potentially damaging events and should include analysis, planning and identification of the resources and potential operational actions required.
4.1.8 Plans should be based on climate, realistic weather forecasts and the effect on fire behaviour and suppression effectiveness and should include maps indicating forecast fire danger.
4.1.9 Organizations, agencies, governments and communities should develop a process for involving local communities, communities of interest and others when preparing resource and fire management plans, including their involvement when fire threatens.
4.1.10 Plans should provide for a system of monitoring and evaluation, including a feedback process for amending or adapting the plans based on evaluations or changing conditions.
Fire management actions can be applied to all types of forests and woodlands and to areas designated for production, conservation, cultural activities or as protected areas and reserves. The same general approach to fire management planning should be followed in all areas. However, the specific management objectives for each environment must be taken into account and, as a result, the operational standards and actions may vary.
The key consideration in these areas is formulation of strategic actions for the management and protection of each area. Endangered or threatened species, indigenous values and sacred sites, water reserves for communities, and scenic and recreational areas all have social, economic or non-economic values that must be considered in the development of fire management plans.
Protected areas may require special consideration in the planning for fire suppression actions, and fire personnel may be required to use specialized tactics and suppression techniques in these areas. In many sensitive areas, the use of heavy, mechanized equipment can be damaging to the environment and can disturb the special values of the area more than the effects of a fire. In all cases, a balance should be reached in the right amount and kind of fire, the right types of prevention and response and the impacts on the area and on adjacent areas.
Strategic actions for fire management in natural or protected areas and reserves include but are not limited to:
4.2.1 Fire plans and guidelines should identify the unique character of and objectives for the area, considering the role that fire plays in restoring or maintaining that special character.
4.2.2 In areas that require periodic fire to restore or maintain the character of the area, the likelihood that fire will impact other resources, communities and people outside the area should be taken into account.
4.2.3 Consideration should be given to using appropriate fire management actions that will not adversely impact surrounding areas, assets or sustainable livelihoods.
4.2.4 Plans, guidelines and operational procedures should be developed with a view to mitigating any unwanted or damaging impacts from planned burning in these areas.
4.2.5 Care should be taken to ensure that invasive plants or diseases are not introduced through fire suppression actions and the use of fire equipment and machinery.
4.2.6 When fires occur in fire-intolerant areas, or when a particular fire incident is uncharacteristically severe or damaging, suppression tactics should be planned and implemented with a view to mitigating damaging effects on the protected area from crews, equipment and suppression actions.
4.2.7 Where fire-dependent natural areas or reserves are located adjacent to valuable commercial or agricultural areas, detailed plans should be developed to ensure that the unique character and value of the areas can be maintained, while limiting the impact on adjacent areas.
Fire awareness and educational activities can be very effective in involving the community and other groups in a fire management programme and in engaging the community as a responsible partner. A well-informed public will be more likely to use fire carefully and to adhere to policy and legal boundaries. It can assist in the prevention, detection and reporting of fires, work with fire personnel to control unwanted fires, and provide a source of local and traditional knowledge.
A programme of awareness and education can be provided to schoolchildren through a structured set of lessons and learning objectives. Other programmes should be developed for adults and communities to educate and to communicate changes in policy or in the understanding of the role of fire and the impact of unplanned fires on ecosystems and resources. Successful media campaigns, based on sound technical knowledge and research, have used print media, radio and television to spread a message of fire prevention and the proper use of fire, as well as to warn of situations of elevated fire danger in which extreme fires might occur.
Strategic actions for fire awareness and education include but are not limited to:
4.3.1 Fire awareness and educational programmes should be developed and targeted to specific audiences and communities.
4.3.2 Programmes should be sensitive to the cultural and social norms of the community, including the application of fires to agricultural, forestry, biodiversity and traditional uses or to other basic needs.
4.3.3 Fire awareness and educational materials should be gender sensitive and should reflect local literacy levels, including oral presentation where printed material or local language barriers limit effective communication.
4.3.4 Age-appropriate information and educational materials should be developed cooperatively by technical experts and educational specialists and provided to all levels, introducing ecological and fire management concepts into local schools.
4.3.5 Primary and secondary schools, universities, non-governmental organizations and other institutions should be encouraged to develop locally and ecologically appropriate fire management programmes for teachers and other educators, based on local conditions and beliefs.
Fire prevention may be the most cost-effective and efficient mitigation programme an agency or community can implement. Preventing unwanted, damaging fires is always less costly than suppressing them. Prevention programmes that are accepted and promoted within the community not only reduce costs and resource damage, but also promote understanding of the role and impact of fire in the ecosystem.
Fire prevention applies to human-caused ignitions and requires a combination of community education, effective prevention programmes and enforcement of laws or regulations. In fire-dependent ecosystems and cultural areas, allowing some fires to burn within defined parameters may be beneficial, although letting human-caused fires burn with the objective of benefiting the ecosystem may complicate attempts to enforce prevention regulations.
In many parts of the world, planned fire is included as a component of fire prevention. It can have a very significant and beneficial impact on reducing fire severity and damage and it assists firefighters in suppressing fires. It also has many benefits for ecosystem sustainability, maintenance and restoration. In order to emphasize the role fire plays in sustaining and restoring ecosystems, planned fire is addressed in section 4.13.
Strategic actions for fire prevention include but are not limited to:
4.4.1 In areas in which objectives require minimizing the number of fires and the area burned, a comprehensive prevention plan should be developed.
4.4.2 Prevention plans should take into account traditional uses of fire, be based on laws or regulations restricting fires and involve local community leaders and organizations.
4.4.3 Data should be collected on a monthly and annual basis on frequency, specific causes and locations of human-caused fires, reasons for starting the fires, and area burned in order to establish an effective prevention programme.
4.4.4 Fire prevention programmes should include information on the need to use and manage fire in certain situations.
Fire danger rating systems have long been used to determine the level of fire danger and provide early warning of the potential for serious fires. Rating systems use basic daily weather data to calculate wildfire potential. By using forecasts, early warning can be provided many days in advance of a significant fire event.
Locally generated early warning information may be more useful in that it reflects local weather characteristics and vegetation conditions. Active involvement of local communities in collecting fire-weather information and disseminating warnings will create ownership and increase local responsibility and the efficiency of the early warning system.
Forest and land management agencies, landowners and communities benefit from an early warning system that identifies critical periods of extreme fire danger in advance of their occurrence. Such early warning, particularly if delivered with high spatial and temporal resolution that incorporates measures of uncertainty and the likelihood of extreme conditions, allows fire managers to implement fire prevention, detection and preparedness plans before fire problems begin.
Strategic actions for fire danger rating and early warning systems include but are not limited to:
4.5.1 Countries or organizations should establish a fire danger rating system or adapt an existing system to the local environment, based on land cover, vegetation and daily weather data.
4.5.2 Countries or regions should install a national or regional early warning system, using existing, demonstrated science and technologies and based on a local fire danger rating system.
4.5.3 An information network should be developed to provide reliable early warning of fire danger quickly to local authorities, landowners and communities and to take advantage of established community networks.
Fire preparedness covers detection and response to fires. Preparedness includes training, equipping and staffing prior to the start of a fire. An effective fire preparedness programme should be based on fire and resource management planning and should take into account year-to-year variations in funding, weather and human activities. Properly trained and equipped personnel at the proper locations will increase the effectiveness of any programme.
Training is a key part of preparedness and readiness. The safety of firefighters is dependent on their understanding of fire characteristics and the local weather. Training in the effective use of equipment and fire suppression techniques is also important, while for supervisors and managers, training can help them better understand and effectively deploy a complex range of resources.
Providing proper equipment to firefighters is basic. Personal protective equipment such as helmets, gloves, fire-resistant clothing and safety boots should be considered an essential requirement of the programme. The tools used must enter within the financial resources of the programme, but they should be appropriate to the customs of the firefighters and effective in the local ecosystem.
Strategic actions for fire preparedness include but are not limited to:
4.6.1 Preparedness plans should include all activities to be undertaken prior to the start of a fire.
4.6.2 Safety considerations, both for firefighters and the public, should be a key component of any preparedness plan.
4.6.3 Plans and implementation should be based on an effective and cost-efficient mix of resources and organizations.
4.6.4 Plans should take ecological considerations into account, such as the impact of suppression actions on the environment and the role of fire in the ecosystem or in cultural areas.
4.6.5 Plans should include processes and procedures to assess risk and hazard and to determine appropriate response and mitigation actions.
4.6.6 Plans should be based on predicted fire risk, and staffing and availability levels identified that correspond to the level of risk.
4.6.7 Plans should assess the capabilities of remote communities and individuals living in outlying areas to protect their own assets and assist fire services in all phases of fire management.
4.6.8 All training should be appropriate to local ecological, social and political conditions and should be delivered to the same standard for full-time, paid, volunteer or other rural workers for the expected fire characteristics.
Additional activities need to be undertaken prior to the beginning of the fire season. These could be characterized as preparedness actions, but are differentiated from the previous section, which generally deals with actions to prepare resources. These pre-fire-season activities involve cooperative action with collaborators, contractors and other groups or organizations in support of the fire management programme. In many areas in which there is no clearly defined fire season, these activities will take place prior to predicted periods of elevated fire danger.
In many situations, entering into a formal agreement will provide a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all partners. The agreement can take the form of an enforceable contract or it may be a memorandum of understanding that states the general areas in which cooperation and coordination will take place.
The holding of annual meetings can be specified in the agreement. This can be a very effective method of communication, ensuring that all parties receive consistent information and come to agreement. The annual meeting can be expanded to include exercises and simulations, test communications equipment and practise fire suppression techniques. Using a planned, cooperative approach will guarantee that consistent, complete information is provided to all personnel. See Annex 3 for an overview of items to be considered in preparing an agreement.
Strategic actions for pre-fire-season activities include but are not limited to:
4.7.1 All parties to an agreement should hold an annual pre-fire-season meeting to review the agreement and discuss changes and improvements to the annual operating plan.
4.7.2 Civilians, collaborators and other affected members of the public should be informed of plans and procedures that provide for or enhance public safety.
4.7.3 Arrangements with landowners should be established if access through their property might be required for fire management activities, including fire detection.
4.7.4 Agreements should be concluded with utilities, transportation agencies and other sectors that might be damaged by fire or fire suppression actions. These should include actions to be taken by the collaborators in support of the fire suppression effort or to protect firefighters and the public.
Fire detection is an important part of an effective fire management programme. It can be accomplished in a variety of ways: satellite imagery, fire observation towers, aerial surveillance, lightning detection systems, or monitoring and reporting of fires by the local population. When local residents understand the risk and damage from unwanted, severe fires and participate in a community-based fire management programme, they are a very effective part of the overall system.
Once fires are detected, effective communications are needed to provide firefighters and managers with information on the location, size and burning conditions. Dispatch centres, equipped to operate with backup energy sources, receive information on fire ignitions and locations, alert fire suppression personnel and dispatch them to individual fires. Dispatchers provide regular communications to firefighters on changes in weather forecasts, fire behaviour, strategy and incident command structure. They monitor the fire situation and receive orders from the incident controller or commander for additional and backup resources.
Communication with the public is needed to inform them of the fire status and of threats to the community. Local media – radio, television and the press – as well as other traditional methods and emerging technologies of information dissemination need to be part of the total communications plan.
Strategic actions for fire detection, communications and dispatching include but are not limited to:
4.8.1 A robust fire detection system should use an appropriate combination of remote sensing, established land- or water-based locations, aerial routes and private citizen and rural community networks.
4.8.2 A public communications system should be in place for the reporting of fires by private citizens and agency personnel and for alerting managers, supervisors, landowners and citizens.
4.8.3 A dispatch and communications system should be in place to determine the appropriate response to a reported fire, mobilize and support initial-attack and backup fire suppression resources, and provide appropriate information to responders, volunteers, landowners and others involved in the incident response.
4.8.4 A communications plan should be developed and translated into local languages to inform the public of threats and potential severe conditions and to provide prevention messages.
The initial attack is the first phase of fire suppression. The success of the entire fire management programme may be reflected in the success or failure of this phase of any fire. If the initial attack is successful, most other programme elements will also be successful. Without planning, policies, prevention, fuel management, community involvement and detection, the initial-attack phase will not succeed.
Initial-attack strategies and tactics should be designed to fit the local situation. Strategies based on local conditions, objectives for the area and budgets will determine the number, type, kind and location of a mix of resources: crews, engines, aircraft and other mechanized equipment. The fire management plan will provide firefighters with instructions on how fires are to be fought, whether some are to be allowed to burn to benefit the environment and resources, and what tactics and strategies should be used to protect ecosystems.
Tactics employed for an individual fire should follow policies for the area and be part of the fire management plan. Each action should be based on expected fire behaviour and the difficulty encountered in controlling the fire, as well as on the availability and effectiveness of local forces. Not only is this strategically important, it is critical to the safety of the firefighters and the general public.
There are several ways to provide for an initial-attack capability. Individuals, either by choice or because of the lack of any other fire protection service, can take on the responsibility using their own assets. Groups or agencies can be formed, funded, staffed and equipped by a government or other organization. Members of local communities can be established as a response group and be trained to be the first responders to fires. This can be an effective and efficient system. Volunteers may be part of an organization with a small core of permanently employed staff that perform maintenance and readiness activities. No matter how the initial-attack crews are provided, adequate training and planning should be part of a programme in which safety is the first consideration in all plans and actions. These crews and resources should use an operational system, such as ICS, that is flexible and can expand to manage fires that become larger and more complex (Annex 2).
Strategic actions for initial attack/action include but are not limited to:
4.9.1 The initial-attack organization should be properly trained, equipped, supported and staffed to meet local requirements.
4.9.2 All initial-attack actions should be based on the resource, cultural, economic and ecological objectives and policies for the area, including the appropriate use of tactics and equipment.
4.9.3 The initial-attack organization should utilize local resources, if possible, in order to build support within the community for fire management policies and plans and to gain from local knowledge and experience.
4.9.4 The initial-attack organization should have access to communications systems to receive timely information on fire starts, locations and status from official sources and from the public.
4.9.5 The initial-attack organization should be trained and prepared for the transition activities required when fires escape and become larger, requiring large-fire suppression strategies and tactics to be formulated and applied across the incident.
4.9.6 Based on the requirements of the legislative framework, the initial-attack organization should be prepared for non-fire activities, such as protecting private citizens and directing evacuation, and should be trained in rescue and emergency medical procedures.
4.9.7 The initial-attack organization should be trained to collect data and prepare evaluations and reports in order to improve organizational effectiveness and to work with the media in keeping citizens informed.
In many ecosystems, fires tend to become large due to an increase in fire intensity and rate of spread or area involved. When initial-attack resources are unable to contain the fire, a transition from initial to extended attack occurs as the fire continues to burn. A low-intensity, slow-spreading fire that is easily suppressed can transform itself quickly when environmental or meteorological conditions change. Initial-attack resources may be unable to manage the fire due to inexperience and lack of training, or simply because they are few in number and are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the fire.
Management of large fires can be very different during the transition from the initial- to the extended-attack phase of fire suppression. A ‘large-fire event’ is not defined so much by the size of the fire as by the duration and complexity. A fire in grasses and light fuel can spread to a relatively large size very quickly, but the suppression techniques may not be different from those of a very small fire. A fire that burns out quickly and does not exceed the capability of the initial- or extended-attack organization may not require a change in strategy or tactics.
While the complexity of the situation may require that fire suppression personnel shift from the initial or extended attack to a large-fire event, the agency should attempt to develop a system that does not require a complete change in management and organization. ICS was specifically developed to be used on any type of incident at any level of complexity and is an effective fire management tool.
At this point in a large-fire response, crews and supervisors may be challenged to use unfamiliar strategies and tactics and to implement a logistics and planning organization at a new and larger scale. All of this will be further complicated if communities and resources are threatened or destroyed and people are forced to evacuate.
Strategic actions for large-fire suppression and management include but are not limited to:
4.10.1 Plans and procedures should be established for large-fire suppression based on expected size, duration and complexity.
4.10.2 An extensive process should be in place to gather intelligence and information on all aspects of a large fire in order to ensure effective planning, strategy formulation and community involvement.
4.10.3 A versatile and expandable management system, such as ICS, should be used to manage fires of all sizes and complexities in order to minimize confusion and risk during transition periods.
4.10.4 Pre-fire-season agreements should be prepared that provide for assistance during large fires when local resources are fully committed.
4.10.5 A process of review, evaluation and training should be in place so that personnel recognize the conditions under which a large fire is likely to occur and ascertain that prompt and adequate steps are taken in anticipation of the event.
4.10.6 Plans should contain provisions for evaluating large fires to determine if some or all of the fire can be managed in a manner that benefits the ecosystem, reduces the risk to fire suppression personnel and minimizes costs.
4.10.7 Plans should include risk analysis of the probability and consequences of failure in meeting plan objectives.
Some of the most difficult and complicated situations occur when multiple fires start simultaneously or when additional fires are discovered before the initial ones are brought under control. This situation is further complicated when the fires occur across several jurisdictions with different legislative or institutional management objectives. These cross-boundary incidents can impact local jurisdictions as well as national boundaries.
During periods of multiple fires, fire suppression resources may be depleted, requiring managers to allocate resources based on priorities and potential threats. Often the priorities for protection are widely varied, which makes it difficult to determine where fire suppression resources should be deployed. Moreover, these decisions are often made without access to adequate information. Setting up procedures in advance reduces the risks to health and safety and the potential damage to resources and communities.
In addition to preplanning these actions, an effective way to manage priority-setting during multiple incidents is to have established a coordinating group beforehand composed of senior managers from the agencies and organizations involved, including community groups. This group will meet during the emergency to set priorities and agree on critical areas of concern. However, it should also meet throughout the year to confer on all aspects of interagency or international concerns, such as standards, objectives, priorities and procedures for coordination and mutual assistance during emergencies.
Another important factor would be agreement to use ICS and to expand its scope as the number of fires increases and the impact expands to more jurisdictions. The ability to continue the same management structure at any level of complexity is important in critical periods.
Strategic actions for managing multiple incidents include but are not limited to:
4.11.1 Prior to the start of the fire season, plans should be developed that provide for the management, resource-allocation, prioritization and other transboundary actions required during multiple incidents.
4.11.2 A group of senior management personnel representing each jurisdiction involved should be established to decide protection and resource-allocation priorities through coordinated management direction and policy implementation.
4.11.3 Consideration should be given to the possibility that additional fires will start and to the allocating of suppression resources so as to reduce the potential of additional large and damaging fires occurring in critical areas.
4.11.4 Through the use of ICS in all jurisdictions and in response to any type of fire or other emergency, the agencies, groups and other organizations involved will acquire the experience to effectively use the system in transboundary and multiple fire situations.
In this section, ‘fuel management’ refers to all methods of fuel treatment and alteration for any purpose: fire risk reduction, community protection, ecosystem restoration and debris removal following logging or another activity. Mechanical treatments are those methods of moving, altering the arrangement, compacting or any other manipulation of the fuel by either mechanized equipment or using crews to accomplish the work manually. Any activity that changes the arrangement or composition of the fuel should be considered in the fuel treatment programme. The application of chemicals and resource management activities such as grazing and timber harvesting will change the fuel bed. These actions should be planned and implemented in full consideration of the potential to change fire intensity, spread and potential damage.
One other example in which fuel treatment activities can be an important part of a programme is in those areas in which homes and other buildings are adjacent to fire-prone vegetation. Homeowners can use a variety of methods to remove brush and debris from areas around homes – including carefully planned and implemented fires. Removing this combustible material will increase the chances that homes and communities will survive a fire. While fuel treatment activities may not reduce the occurrence of a fire, they will almost certainly reduce the intensity and thus increase the effectiveness of fire suppression tactics.
Strategic actions for fuel management include but are not limited to:
4.12.1 A fuel management programme should be part of a complete fire management programme.
4.12.2 A fire management programme should include fuel treatment activities to facilitate effective fire suppression and protection of communities and resources.
4.12.3 A fuel reduction programme should consider the potential uses of debris and vegetation and, where appropriate, encourage local communities to use wood for fuel and perhaps grasses and shrubs for grazing or other community needs.
4.12.4 Plans to use mechanized equipment should assess the potential damage from the equipment and seek to mitigate this potential or ensure that the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
‘Planned fire’ is the deliberate use of fire to meet specific management objectives. The fuel can be live or dead. Some areas categorize planned burning done to protect communities as a prevention activity. While that is a valid description of that situation, all types of planned fire are covered in this section.
Planned fires are a very effective way to remove unwanted vegetation for a variety of objectives. Fire as a tool for agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and land clearing is well established and commonly practised throughout the world. It is also important in maintaining healthy fire-dependent ecosystems. In these ecosystems, natural fire has a beneficial role and should be encouraged or managed as part of the total fire management programme.
The ecosystems and cultural areas in which fire is common can be very resilient to its effects. Flora may be rejuvenated by fire, rather than being displaced or destroyed, and consequently the fauna that depend on it as well. If the goal is to maintain or restore sustainable ecosystems and cultural areas, then a programme to allow burning for restoration and rehabilitation should be part of the overall fire management plan.
A critical part of any planned burning programme is mitigating the effects of smoke. An effective smoke management programme will be crucial in areas with legal mandates to provide clean air and protect citizens from respiratory threats. Partnership with the weather forecasting service may be important, since the service can issue forecasts specifically designed to provide guidance on the likely airshed impacts from specific burns. Such advice would assist the manager conducting the burn.
Strategic actions for planned fire include but are not limited to:
4.13.1 Impacts on human health and air quality should be considered when conducting planned burns.
4.13.2 Prior to the reintroduction of fire, plans should include consideration of the impacts of long-term fire exclusion on resources, vegetation and ecosystem and human health.
4.13.3 Based on the complexity and potential risk, planned burns should be undertaken only after plans have been developed that consider operational procedures for safe work practices, predicted environmental effects and the expected fire behaviour needed to produce the predicted effects.
4.13.4 The results of the burns should be monitored and recorded and used to revise operating plans, procedures, environmental parameters and contingency plans.
4.13.5 A contingency plan should address the potential of fires to escape and damage resources, property, habitats and communities or to threaten the safety of agency personnel or private citizens.
There are immediate rehabilitation actions that can be undertaken in conjunction with fire suppression actions. A fire line constructed along a steep slope may be very prone to erosion and further damage if immediate steps to interrupt the flow of water are delayed. Fire suppression actions may damage the environment and may need to be avoided. Many actions that are effective in stopping a fire can severely impact other resources, such as soils, wetlands, habitats and vegetation. The impacts are often long term or can promote the spread of disease, weeds and other exotic pests.
Replanting and reseeding of sensitive areas can stop an invasion by exotic and invasive species that would take advantage of a large expanse of exposed soil. In this case, the presence of the exotic species in the ecosystem may require actions that are unnecessary in areas without this species.
Engaging suppression crews in rehabilitation activities can have the advantage of teaching them which suppression techniques are most damaging to the ecosystem and, in some cases, make possible the implementation of mitigation measures in conjunction with suppression actions. For example, a crew using hand tools to construct fire lines can construct water bars along the fire line at the time of initial construction, which will reduce the potential for erosion.
In planted or natural forests in which commercial activities are planned, economic considerations may dictate an aggressive salvage and removal programme for damaged timber or other products and an extensive reforestation plan. In the context of the management plan for the area, economics may be the overriding consideration when communities are dependent on forests as a source of revenue and livelihoods.
Strategic actions for burned area restoration and rehabilitation include but are not limited to:
4.14.1 Every burned-area rehabilitation and restoration plan should be based on the planned or natural fire regime for the area and should include actions that facilitate a restored, healthy sustainable ecosystem or cultural area.
4.14.2 Every fire suppression plan should consider the need for immediate corrective action that will mitigate further damage resulting from the suppression, such as constructing fire breaks or other disturbance activity.
4.14.3 Where natural processes are not expected to provide adequate regeneration, rehabilitation plans should be developed that use plants, trees and grasses native to the ecosystem and that will not cause damage or unexpected consequences.
4.14.4 Care should be taken to ensure that seed sources are reasonably free from contaminants such as seeds of invasive species.
Monitoring and assessment are important at several levels. Monitoring of the effects of both fires and suppression activities is needed in order to achieve a balance between stopping the fire and protecting the resource. Monitoring the effectiveness of the fire organization will help managers determine if the programme is working. Cost/benefit assessments are useful in assessing the effectiveness of various types of resources.
Effective monitoring and assessment of the prevention programme can reduce the occurrence of specifically identified types of fires and the costs of suppression.
Strategic actions for monitoring and assessment include but are not limited to:
4.15.1 A comprehensive plan for monitoring and assessing all aspects of the fire management programme should be implemented.
4.15.2 A safety programme, including analysis of near-miss incidents, accident reports and a review of lessons learned, should be implemented and monitored to reduce the risk to firefighters, fire managers and the public.
4.15.3 Information and data from the fire prevention programme should be used to develop a monitoring system that measures the effectiveness of fire prevention efforts.
4.15.4 A programme should be implemented to monitor the ecological effects of fire and of suppression methods and it should include cooperation with universities, other research organizations and local communities.