Sliabh Beagh, Ireland

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The Pau Costa Foundation is developing a Wildfire Management Plan at landscape scale commissioned by Monaghan County Council, under the project framework CANN Interreg, in the protected area of Sliabh beagh (Border between the North of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland). The plan will allow stakeholders to improve understanding of fire risk and landscape management necessary to alter fire behavior in the area, as well as promote recommendations to implement landscape management actions, improve fire control capacity. and reduce the impact of fire on peatlands. The plan focuses mainly on the comprehensive management of the spread, leaving ignitions in the background.

The Wildfire Management Plan has two interrelated purposes:

  • Increase fire management capacity in all phases of the emergency: prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Propose strategic management practices aimed at reducing vulnerability to fires, but always with a comprehensive vision of the study area, considering aspects such as the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services as points of synergy.
  • Involve stakeholders in the area in fire management. The leadership of the different actors is fostered, each one from their field of expertise.

The work carried out includes:

  • Risk analysis
  • Define current and future fire regime
  • Identify the fire potential polygons and critical points within the area
  • Understand potential patterns of fire behavior through fire simulations
  • Identify the best practices that are currently applied for the management of wildfires at the international level
  • Involve stakeholders in decision-making

Among the greatest challenges involved in drawing up a fire management plan in an ecosystem as appreciated as that of peatlands stands out the conflict of ignitions caused to improve pastures, the extraction of peat, the integration of different habitats necessary for the species of protected birds in the area, climate change and the impact that different management methods may have.

The plan started in March 2021 and is expected to end in September of the same year. It should be noted that in 2020, the Pau Costa Foundation already worked on another wildfire management plan in Ireland, which was also executed within the framework of the Interreg CANN project. On this occasion, the PCF also has the support of the Irish consultancy Earthy matters, in charge of carrying out the field work, and Tecnosylva, which will run the fire simulations.