Forest fires are the uncontrolled and unprecedented burning of plants in an explosive area due to the physical, biological, ecological, and environmental consequences of anthropogenic activities. Generally, the majority of forest fires are incited by anthropogenic activities driven by demographic pressure, the expansion of agricultural land, and the conversion of forest land into other land uses.
Despite its beneficial effects on some ecosystems, such as forest rejuvenation for some species, forest fire creates a risk to people, wildlife, property. It causes the drastic deterioration of the environment in most cases. In 2020, devastated Australian bushfires, also called forest fire or wildfire, burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares, destroyed over 5,900 buildings, and caused the death of at least 39 people. In the northern summer of 2021, damaging fires had occurred in the USA and Canada, Turkey, Greece, southern Italy, the arctic circle, and South America.
Recently, early warning systems, real-time fire detection, and reporting are emerging as important components in effective forest fire management. The faster a fire is detected, the lesser the damage and impact to ecosystems. Noting the importance of early fire detection and fire information systems, the training course on “Forest Fire Management Information Systems” was organized with the aim of imparting an understanding of the application of technologies in the management of fire information. The outputs of this training are expected to contribute to future project development on forest fire management at the national, sub-national, and regional levels, and form a part of baseline information to be discussed at the “High-Level Workshop on Forest-related Disaster Management and Impacts of Climate Change” slated in 2022.
Organized from 1 to 5 November, the training welcomed 47 participants from AFoCO member countries who have been involved in forest fire management. During the training course, a total of 8 lectures were led by experts from various organizations, including Thailand Kasetsart University, National Research and Innovation Agency, President Office of Indonesia, Planning, Directorate of Forest and Land Fire Management of Indonesia, Kyungpook National University, and the AFoCO Secretariat.
In his opening remarks, Vice Executive Director of AFoCO Secretariat, Mr. Jin Sunpil