Forest fires today. A scientific and societal challenge
DescriptionForest fires are a global phenomenon. Climate change, land abandonment, drought, flammable forest and plantations and urban and peri-urban planning resulted in the spread of forest fires. Fire is present in all ecosystems and the management of fire-prone areas is a great debate today. The aim of this session is to share experiences between stakeholders and researchers on how to face the forest fire challenge. From suppression to prevention , field measurements, modelling, climate change impacts on fire behavior, societal impacts, awareness, etc. A wide range of topics researched in the laboratory, field experiments, or in the office will be debated.We encourage stakeholders and scientists to share their experience with study cases of countries and local forest fire examples. The debate is served.
Post-fire restoration management: Effects on soil, vegetation and geomorphology
DescriptionWildfires are a natural disturbance in Mediterranean forested ecosystems in which, fire suppression has altered natural fire patterns and increased fuel densities. By removing vegetation and altering soil chemical and physical properties, wildfires modify the hydrologic regime and promote soil degradation. Mitigating these fire effects on soil has resulted in increased use of post-fire treatments, in which soil stabilization treatments are crucial for diminishing the post-fire erosion risk as exposed by many different research experiments developed in Unites States or Europe. Post-fire treatment activities are divided into three categories: emergency stabilization, rehabilitation and restoration. Emergency stabilization treatments such as mulching to prevent soil erosion are conducted within one year of a fire to stabilize the burned area and reduce additional damage to valued resources. Most post-fire stabilization and short-term rehabilitation treatments are used to mitigate the post-fire effects on physical ecosystem components, such as soil, water, and hydrologic processes. Long-term rehabilitation and restoration activities are often more focused on the biotic components of the ecosystem, such as recovery of native communities and habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, re-establishment of timber or grazing species, and control of invasive weeds. Emergency post-fire actions may therefore be critical for reducing soil erosion, especially after clearcutting in areas affected by crown-fire, where soil is exposed to the action of rainfall and the amounts of logging debris may be low. On this context, knowing the Post-fire restoration management effects on soil, vegetation and geomorphology is of paramount importance.
Wildfires and Civil Protection
DescriptionThe reasons behind wildfires may be as diverse as the cultures, economies, histories, and ecosystems of the countries within which they occur and have always existed, on a worldwide scale (Botelho et al., 2014). Over and over we witness its occurrence and frequency, being a recurring problem in some countries (Bento-Gonçalves et al., 2015). The increased frequency, magnitude, and extent of wildfires, over the past few decades, has become a major societal and environmental concern across the world. These concerns are further intensified by the likely future climate conditions, increasingly propitious to wildfire ignition and spreading (Bento-Gonçalves et al., 2013). However, the increased exposure to forest fire risk and the level of vulnerability of society reflects the different degree of preparedness for these phenomena, and the effectiveness of "civil protection" is one of the key factors in explaining the intensity, size and severity that some wildfires reach. To discuss these topics, we propose a poster and an oral presentation sessions, with a Key lecture that will introduce the State-of-the-Art and will guide a discussion about the best methods and techniques, the definition of strategies, and the systemic view inherent to Civil Protection and forest fires.
Fire and soil organic matter: relationships, impacts and novel methodologies
DescriptionUnder the present scenario of global warming, it is predicted that the area burned by wildfires will increase by approximately 27% by 2050, particularly affecting humid-temperate and boreal forests. It is well-known that wildfires induce changes in the physical and chemical properties of soils, depending on fire conditions (intensity, duration), soil characteristics, climatic conditions and vegetation. Fire affects both quantity and quality of soil organic matter (SOM) by modifying existing chemical structures, forming new ones, or adding/removing materials (fresh or charred biomass). Consequently, the study of SOM is crucial for assessing of the impact of wildfires. Further, this knowledge may generate predictive models of action useful to alleviate the damage caused by the fire. Nonetheless, due to the chemical complexity of the SOM, there is not a complete vision of the different reaction mechanisms promoted by fire. This interdisciplinary session will focus on the current research and advances of innovative analytical techniques in the study of the alteration, impact and the cause-effect relationships induced by fire on soil. Submission of studies conducted by cutting-edge analytical methodologies (including chromatographic, spectroscopic, isotopic, thermal, among others) and chemometrics, such as, partial least square regression (PLS), predictive models and data mining are particularly encouraged.
Fires at the Wildland-Urban-Interface
DescriptionForest fires in Europe increasingly affect populated areas, presenting a serious challenge for civil protection and intervention bodies. The population in these wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas is exposed to hazardous components, such as smoke and flame fronts, as well as homes and other facilities. The WUI fire problem is inherently complex, as it is characterized by the interaction of multiple phenomena of diverse nature occurring at different observation scales: the landscape scale, the community scale and the property scale. All three are interrelated and allow to rationalize and identify all WUI fire management aspects. The landscape is associated with large forestry and operational management strategies (e.g. landscape design, fuel reduction planning, management of strategic points for suppression, etc.); the community scale corresponds to the level where preventive and protective measures to keep settlements safe have to be planned and implemented (e.g. fuel reduced strips around communities, water supply points, etc.); and finally, the property scale is associated with preventive actions at the immediate surroundings of houses to guarantee structure integrity, create self-defensible spaces and increase safety in eventual shelter-in-place operations. In this session recent advances and innovative projects on WUI fire risk and vulnerability management (focused both on assets and population) will be presented and discussed.
DescriptionA substantial amount of research efforts has significantly boosted our knowledge of the links between climate and fire in the Mediterranean region. Many studies have focused on specific regions or events, while others have analysed the fire drivers using several fire-related climate metrics and expected modifications under climate change over a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. There are also some examples of studies on fire predictability at seasonal scale. Despite the considerable effort to better understand the climate-driven changes on fires, this task is still representing a research challenge owing to the complexity of the processes involved, limitations in observational data and concurrence and compounding effects of multiple drivers. This session aims to improve the understanding of the interactions between fire and climate bringing together researchers working on this issue. The session will focus on studies that help to improve our understanding of the importance of climate impacts on fire across different spatial and temporal scales. We invite contributions developing or using remote sensing datasets, in situ observations, and modeling approaches.
Fire effects on soil biota
DescriptionThe multiple and diversified effects of fires act on heterogeneous environments, often inducing unpredictable responses. In Mediterranean regions, both natural and human-caused fires play fundamental roles in shaping terrestrial ecosystems, also according to different plant covers. After fires, changes in soil abiotic properties (i.e., pH, water content, organic matter amount and quality, nutrient availability) strongly affect the abundance, diversity and activity of soil communities. Sometimes, changes in soil communities can be irrelevant in the short-term; whereas, they can become noticeable in the long-term also due to the aboveground and vegetation changes. Therefore, generally, deep modification in soil abiotic properties as well as in structure and functionality of communities can be expected affecting several ecosystem services, such as decomposition rate, nutrient cycles, C and N. As the lack of univocal responses of soil system to fires, implementation of the current knowledge, especially in the Mediterranean area where fires are frequent and severe, is a big challenge.
Wildfire drivers, dynamics and impacts modelling
DescriptionWildfire drivers, dynamics and impacts modelling session has as main idea to attract articles related to: 1) Fire Behavior Fuel Modelling, 2) Application of methods or models for simulating the fire propagation in real or near real time, 3) ICT tools in fire behavior or fuel modelling, 4) GIS applications on fuel modelling, 5) Satellite observations in favor of fuel modeling and land management, 6) Earth System models, 7) Any other innovative ICT, GIS or satellite based research that can be used in fire prevention, preparedness or response phases.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for wildfires
DescriptionForests have lost almost 100 million hectares in two decades accelerating the loss of biodiversity. Wildfires are estimated to be responsible for around 15% of global warming gas emissions. Firefighting professionals nowadays make an unsettling observation: fires are becoming increasingly difficult to suppress as they get more numerous and intense. We are talking about massive wildfires that are nearly hard to extinguish. 2019 was a record-breaking year, with recent tragedies in the Amazon, Indonesia, Australia, and even the Arctic bringing the world's attention to the fact that flames are now a big threat and an important ecological issue. Forest fires cause significant damage to humans and other living creatures. If they are not detected and extinguished before they widely spread, they can have disastrous results. AI has known impressive progress in recent years, and it can play an important role in the area of wildfires. In this session we are interested on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the study and analysis of wildfires and forest fires, such as detecting and segmenting fire images, modeling and predicting fire propagation, using UAVs to monitor and fight wildland fires, remote sensing, mutimodal imaging for wildfires, etc.
Fire on the screen: media, cinema and video-storytelling