The two faces of fire

"Learning to live with fire", a new approach for civil protection

Living with fire implies to properly evaluate the potential environmental, social and economic damage of undesirable fire (large and intense), but also the benefits of using low intensity and/or targeted fires such as prescribed burning, or even backfires in the fire suppression operations. It is meaningful and realistic to envisage a combination of fire use strategies and prevention/suppression strategies in proportion and intensity adequate to the local conditions (different scales). Such integrated solutions consist of appropriate assessments, goal setting, public policies, education, fire management technologies, and evaluation.

Increasing the benefits through the use of fire and decreasing damage from undesirable types of fires can provide sustainability to ecosystems and live-hoods.


  • Good fire respects and protects the tree
  • Good fire is available when trees are dormant (“sleeping”) and when trees are thus protected.
  • Good fire imitates natural processes in forest systems
  • Good fire spread slowly against the wind
  • Good fire is a low intensity fire and respects underground animals
  • Good fire reduces fuel accumulation
  • Good fire stops on the edge of prepared clear, fuel-free area
  • Good fire is more effective and cheaper than other techniques

Good fire and tree


  • Bad fire destroys everything!
  • Bad fire occurs in summer when tree are unprotected

  • Bad fire spreads faster and increases in intensity, with the wind
  • Bad fire starts normally from a human cause

  • Bad fire thrives on fuel accumulation
  • Bad fire burns very large areas

  • Bad fires are costly

Bad fire


For each citizens living in a fire prone environment, being prepared means a better awareness and preparation before the fire season, including home protection by mitigation actions at the WUI, and safer behaviour during the emergency situations to preserve lives and assets.

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