In the last few years, extreme wildfires have risen to international prominence, with widespread media coverage and political attention triggered by devastating fires in many places of the world, e.g. France, Greece, Italy, Brazil (the Amazon), and California. Such fires get out of control and devastate large areas causing unprecedented losses on biodiversity, emitting huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing human losses and smoke-related diseases, and ravaging entire neighbourhoods, villages, or even towns. Climate change is among the key drivers of such wildfires. At the same time, wildfire regimes have been profoundly modified by direct (e.g. land-use change, fire suppression policies) and indirect (e.g. climate change) anthropogenic actions.
Integrated Fire Management (IFM or sustainable fire management) has been identified by the international fire community as one of the key solutions to address the problem, requiring an interdisciplinary approach. IFM includes sets of actions aimed at reducing the extent and severity of undesired wildfires while maintaining (or improving) biodiversity, ecosystem services and human wellbeing. FIRE-ADAPT aims at addressing the full diversity of fire types and their different contexts by bringing together expertise from across regions from the Mediterranean Basin and Latin America for the purpose of improving our understanding of the role of IFM for wildfire prevention and for enhancing natural and cultural ecosystem services.
The consortium has set up six Study Hubs in Mediterranean countries (Spain, France, Italy) and Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina), to facilitate science-practitioner exchanges and to enhance collaborations and networking. The ultimate intention of FIRE-ADAPT is to contribute to improving knowledge on what practices of IFM can enhance carbon abatement and nature-based solution potential, as well as wildfire risk mitigation, in culturally just and meaningful ways.