A prescribed burn is a controlled fire treatment applied to plant species. Under a set of given topographical, meteorological and fuel conditions a prescribed burn can have results comparable to forestry treatments, that helps to prevent forest fires and enables the regeneration of certain plant species or pastures.
After a period of large forest fires in the Catalan region, during the 80s and 90s, the cos de Bombers de la Generalitat de Catalunya adapted its internal structure, getting more resources and personnel to be better prepared to face new types of large wildfire emergencies. The management of such emergencies had a larger risk and required understanding large wildfires as complex emergencies. This new approach implied focusing on wildfire prevention tasks, through forestry management and improving the knowledge on wildfire behaviour.
Besides the new knowledge gained, the technical capacity of the staff working on operations was also improved. The larger experience allowed the crews to developing combined manual, water and fire operations. In conjunction, a legal framework for use of tactical fire was also developed.
The use of fire as a suppression operation has been developed trained through the Prescribed Burning Plan from Bombers. This plan has been a fundamental support for training Bombers staff and also other suppression services across Europe. Moreover, prescribed burning as a prevention technique and the associated wildfire research has been a way to participate in forestry management and regional landscape planning. Overall, contributing to develop forest structures more resistant to the spread of high-intensity wildfires.
Complete information about prescribed fires in Catalonia:
Catalan Fire Service prescribed fires webpage: http://interior.gencat.cat/ca/arees_dactuacio/bombers/foc-forestal/programa-de-cremes-prescrites/