1st International Congress on Fire in the Earth System: Humans and Nature, November 3-7, 2021

Sessions

Forest fires today. A scientific and societal challenge

Conveners

Artemi Cerdà
  
Jesús Rodrigo Comino
  

Description

Forest 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...... a wide range of topics researched in the laboratory,  field experiments, or in the office... will be debated in Valencia. 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

Conveners

Demetrio Antonio Zema  
Manuel Esteban Lucas Borja  
Yang Yu  
Xiangzhou Xu  

Description

Wildfires 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.
Firelinks. The contribution of scientists and stakeholders for a better understanding and management of fire on the Earth.

Conveners

Jesús Rodrigo Comino
  
Artemi Cerdà
  

Description

FIRElinks is developing an EU-spanning network of scientists and practitioners involved in forest fire research and land management. The main goal is to connect communities from different scientific and geographic backgrounds, allowing the discussion of different experiences and the emergence of new approaches to fire research. In this session, related to this COST Action (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) which is defined as a funding agency for research and innovation networks, works related to the connection of research initiatives across Europe funded by FIRElinks that enabled scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers are very welcome. In addition, new proposals to solve the challenges related to fire on the Earth or the collaboration between scientists and stakeholders are willing to be included.
Social Dimensions of Forest Fires

Conveners

Iryna Skulska
  
Conceição Colaço  

Description

Forest fires are the most significant threat that forests and wooded areas in southern Europe face. In the context of climate change, land use changes that reinforce landscape-level flammability, together with the loss and ageing of populations in rural areas, fire is a problem that can escalate to levels never seen before. This was the case in the wildfires of 2017, in Portugal, which caused more than one hundred fatalities and included what was considered as the largest pyro-convective phenomenon registered in Europe and in the world, with an average of 10,000 hectares burnt per hour. These fires point towards the urgency of educating populations in terms of risks, preparedness and resilience, and improving the efficiency of communications between first responders, command centre and citizens. The social dimension of forest fires can assume many shapes, considering the role of populations on integrated fire management models. In the words of Fernandes (2015), "people not only cause ?res but also shape the vegetation (fuel) environment through land use choices and practices, and this, along with weather and topography, will determine ?re behaviour and impacts." This means that fire prevention, land and fuel management - before and after a fire -, community resilience and fire extinction, all play significant roles. The focus is not only on citizens but also on the responsible agents, via education, training and communication. The session includes the presentation and discussion of posters and communications. References: Fernandes P. On the socioeconomic drivers of municipal-level ?re incidence in Portugal.Forest Policy and Economics 62:187-188. doi: 10.1016 / j.forpol.2015.07.010  
Wildfires and Civil Protection

Conveners

Bento-Gonçalves, António  
António Vieira  

Description

The 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

Conveners

Nicasio T. Jiménez-Morillo  
José M. De la Rosa Arranz  
Marco A. Jiménez-González  

Description

Under 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

Conveners

Pastor, Elsa  
Fernandez Anez, Nieves  

Description

Forest 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.
Climate-fire links in the Mediterranean region

Conveners

Marco Turco  
Sonia Jerez  
Raül Marcos-Matamoros  
Joaquín Bedia Jiménez  

Description

A 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.
Implementing smart-fire land use mosaics

Conveners

Pulido, Fernando  
Vilalta, Oriol  

Description

Megafires in Euromediterranean countries often occur over thousands of hectares of abandoned land. In these areas fuel accumulation takes place after cessation of cropping and/or grazing practices and subsequent coalescence of forest tracts, either spontaneous or planted. Consequently, traditional agro-silvo-pastoral mosaics, which once dominated Mediterranean landscapes and prevented extensive fire propagation, have largely declined in area. In this scenario, conventional infrastructures designed to support firefighting, which account for a large fraction of forest management costs, are clearly insufficient in reducing burned areas. Opposite to that, “productive firebreaks”, defined as large landscape patches with low fuel loads due to grazing and/or low-density cropping, may be promoted as cost-efficient, supplementary infrastructures useful in fire control. To date attempts to design fire-smart landscapes involving productive, self-maintained land uses are scarce. Payments for fire prevention services may ensure long term support to such initiatives, as exemplified by several network of fire shepherds in Spain. Analogous initiatives relying on farmers growing low-density woody crops or forest dwellers exploiting a variety of resources at reduced tree cover may also be implemented. Nevertheless, coupling the spatial distributions of such productive firebreaks and those of strategic areas for fire management remains challenging. Joint efforts of specialists in fire dynamics and landscape planning is urgently needed to fill this gap. In addition, alignment of land use policies and fire prevention measures need to be assured to improve the efficacy of this approach in increasing fire resilience.
Fire in ecosystem and Earth System models

Conveners

Prentice, Colin  

Description

Global models that aim to predict wildfire and its interactions with vegetation have developed rapidly during the past decade. Standardized model experiments and evaluations are being carried out by multiple models within the international FireMIP activity. There is a growing ambition to include such models as a component of land-surface dynamics in Earth System models. However, current models have a limited ability to represent environmental dependencies and temporal trends in remotely sensed burnt area, and suffer from many uncertainties especially in (a) the modelling of crucial vegetation properties, including fuel loads and their flammability, and (b) the representation of human drivers in general. Models fall along a spectrum from “process-based” to “empirical” but it is unclear which approach is most likely to lead to improvement. This session, sponsored by two large, new projects on wildfire, will present the state of the art in the development and evaluation of numerical fire models; consider successes and failures, and their causes, in both palaeo and contemporary domains; and address research needs for better forecasting of fire probabilities on seasonal to centennial time scales, taking into account vegetation and land-use changes as well as changing atmospheric composition and climate. Format: “PICO session”, consisting of a short introduction and a series of very short (two-minute) talks, followed by an electronic poster session at the same location as the talks.
Fire effects on soil biota

Conveners

De Marco Anna  
Maisto Giulia  

Description

The 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.
Fire Behavior Modelling and Simulations

Conveners

Dobrinkova, Nina  
Lopez Vicente, Manuel  
Ruescas, Ana Belen  
Bushey, Chuck  
Boustras, George  

Description

Fire Behavior Modelling and Simulation 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) Any other innovative ICT, GIS or satellite based research that can be used in fire prevention, preparedness or response phases.

Forest fire: Forest economics, sustainable forest management, ecosystem services

Conveners

Gültekin, Ya?ar Selman  
Baysal, ?smail  

Description

Forest fires always start by in two ways: naturally and human caused. Naturally caused forest fires are generally raised by lightning. Other reasons for naturally caused fires are volcanic eruptions and very small portion of other unknown reasons. These naturally caused forest fires are very limited to control. Human caused forest fires are the number one cause of wildfires in the world (Nearly 90%). The most important issues for people to cause forest fires arise from social and economic reasons. Therefore, researching and understanding the social and economic dimensions of forest fires is very critical. According to proceedings in the Annual Meeting of the International Society of Forest Resource Economists (ISFRE) there are different kinds of topics tackled related to socioeconomic aspects of forest fires in the last decade. These topics can be summarized under the titles of economic and environmental consequences of forest fires, governance, mitigation and management aspects of forest fires, policy implications of forest fires, forest management problems in forest fires. Forest fires not only causes socio economic problems but also economic losses and costs for the forests and surrounding areas. Discussing and focusing on these critical issues in forest fires gives knowledge and insight to stakeholders and researchers to solve with in different methodologies and approaches.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for wildfires

Conveners

Akhloufi, Moulay  
Khennou, Fadoua  

Description

Forests 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.

Session 9 CFP: Fire on the screen: media, cinema and video-storytelling

Conveners

Enric Castelló  

Description

Media and popular culture are paying increasing attention to wildfires. Television and cinema, in particular, are reporting and representing forest fires in a variety of genres and formats. In recent years, with the proliferation of superfires, these representations also involve the spectacularization of forest fires by exploiting dramatic perspectives and the mediatization of firefighting. As well as providing entertainment, television networks and media spend an enormous amount of time and effort on reporting the tragedies caused by forest fires, sometimes replicating the aesthetics of drama and fiction. How do all these productions interact with scientific efforts to prevent and extinguish wildfires? Are journalistic or entertainment productions in tune with risk communication premises? 

 

This session is open to research work and reflections on how forest fires have been represented on screen. A call is made for studies on television coverage, reports and documentaries, as well as in-depth readings of cinematographic productions or more ethnographic approaches to working with video-storytelling. The session is also open to journalists, filmmakers, or producers who will talk about their experiences in covering forest fires. The call is open to:

 

- Analyses of audiovisual journalistic coverage of forest fires.

- Studies on the spectacularization or journalistic frames of wildfires.

- Close reading of documentaries and fictions focused on wildfires.

- Scientific evidence on the impact and influence on audiences.

- Studies on audiovisual, TV or cinema productions, from documentaries to fictions.