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PRESCRIBED BURNING

In many parts of the world, for years fire has been used by expert staff to limit the quantity of flammable material in undergrowth, in open areas with bushes, as well as to make our forests more fire resistant, without thereby damaging the wood and its inhabitants.

This technique is called “prescribed burning” and is performed through painstakingly complying with a project developed by authorised personnel. All operators are expert on fire management techniques.

Prescribed burning can be defined as conscious and skilful application of fire on planned areas, by adopting accurate measures and operational procedures aiming at getting the desired effects, as well as achieving goals integrated in land-use planning.

Thus this technique applies only under given meteorological conditions, so that not to damage soil, fauna and vegetation that must be protected.

Prescribed burning is a long-standing practice, the effects of which have been studied since 1960’s, and in some European countries is a customary method (France, Spain and Portugal).

 

 

In Italy several experiences have already been carried out, and in Tuscany the forest law and its implementing regulations establish the legislation governing the whole forestry sector, including prescribed fire techniques.

Also the regional operational plan that provides for forest firefighting as a planning instrument includes methods of planning, goals and operational procedures that are required to carry out prescribed burning activities.

This technique is also used to train forest firefighting operators who through management and use of fire in winter workplaces learn to understand fire behaviour, thus being more skilled when fighting effectively and safely against uncontrolled dangerous fires.

The tool used by forest operators to perform prescribed burning is called drip torch and it is an instrument that is included in the equipment of forest firefighting crews.

All the staff that takes part to these operations has been both theoretically and practically trained by D.R.E.Am. Italia in the AIB training centre of the Region of Tuscany, “La pineta” di Tocchi.

D.R.E.Am. Italia has been the first in Italy to develop a plan providing for enhancement and maintenance of forest firebreaks by prescribed burning in the regional forest of La Merse (Siena).