The Fire Paradox White Book

A product that combines skill, knowledge and experience to assist in the development and implementation of integrated wildland fire management policies

February 2010 not only marks the end of four years of research and development in the European Commission Fire Paradox project, but also unveils the main findings and the outcome produced by the partners in a White Book. This product which in fact includes one book, one CD and one booklet, confirms that fire is a “bad master but a good servant”. It takes into consideration the negative impacts of current wildfire regimes and the positive effects of fire for vegetation management and fire fighting.

Product leader

Joaquim Sande Silva
Joaquim Sande Silva
ISA, Lisboa, Portugal

Who will be interested in this product and why?

The White Book product consists of: A comprehensive book, an attached CD and a booklet (policy brief). The book was published by the EFI as the Research Report nr. 23, and the booklet was published by the same institute as the Policy Brief nr. 4. The book is addressed to informed readers, including the wildland fire community, containing the core of the FIRE PARADOX achievements and conclusions. The CD contains FIRE PARADOX bibliographic references cited in the Book, (namely deliverables and internal reports) and will act as complementary information for fire specialists. The policy brief was specifically developed for policy makers, journalists and the general public, addressing the highlights of the FIRE PARADOX philosophy, achievements, conclusions and recommendations.

What are the innovative features?

The innovative aspects of the book are the newly-created aspects of the project. Basically, what is proposed is an integrated approach for a complex problem. For that reason the White Book includes texts written both by fire professionals, researchers and academics. These different approaches to the problem of fire management are complementary and show the different aspects to be tackled in order to solve the paradox of fire.

How does it serve the European cause and promotes the philosophy of Fire Paradox?

The European cause is strongly present, as the product brings together some of the most relevant European scientists and experts in fire management, without concern about the respective nationality. Moreover, the European cause is promoted in other parts of the World, as the product also includes teams coming from countries in Africa, South America and Asia. The Fire Paradox philosophy is also clearly promoted in the White Book since all parts of this product are a direct result from the project achievements. This is particularly reflected in the closing chapter of the book, where the editors integrate the project achievements taking into consideration the basic principles which leaded to the conception of the Fire Paradox project.

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General objectives

The main objective of the White Book can be summarized as "to assist policy makers in the development of necessary common strategies", and to develop and implement integrated wildland fire management policies at the European level. The findings, recommendations and conclusions are covered by the 17 chapters of the book, compiled by 13 different authors, collaborators of the Fire Paradox project, in four different main categories, namely: (i) wildfire initiation, (ii) wildfire propagation, (iii) prescribed burning, and (iv) suppression fire. A fifth section deals with integrated fire management, which includes an integrated approach to the different aspects of fire management. This approach as explained by the Global Fire Initiative (Myers 2006) and is regarded as "an approach to addressing the problems and issues created by both detrimental and healthy fires", by "evaluating and balancing the relative risks created by fire with the beneficial or necessary ecological (or economical roles) it may play" and by facilitating the implementation of "cost-effective approaches to both damage-preventing fires and the maintenance of desirable fire regimes", recognizing that "managing positive aspects of fires may involve various forms of fire-use".

Myers, R.L. 2006. Living with Fire–Sustaining Ecosystems and Livelihoods Through Integrated Fire Management. Global Fire Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Tallahassee. 28 p.

Innovative aspects

The key ingredient of this approach does not only set out the collaborative vision for management of wildfires, but also provides an opportunity to define the future of integrated wildland fire management. The purpose is to initiate a common and transferable approach to managing wildfires and to develop a more proactive role for the policy makers.

Major results

A broad range of research and development has been carried out by the various members of the Fire paradox team, based on the four main themes, developed through the major topics of the closing chapter of the book:

- Minimizing the net social costs of fires;
- Reducing fuels, wildfire hazard and severity by prescribed burning;
- Reduction of unwanted ignitions and integration of traditional fire use and
- The reduction of wildfire propagation by suppression fire.

Some of the resulting integrated products’ titles can be summarized as follows:
- Technical Guide for end-users to characterize and map wildland-urban interface;
- Fire Costs;
- Fire Paradox Fuel Manager;
- Fuel Knowledge Platform;
- Portuguese Prescribed Burning Website;
- On-line Multimedia Platform for External Communication;
- Large Scale Fire Simulator;
- Tools for Fire Commanders;
- Fire Scenarios;
- Fire Paradox Video Package;
- Fire Intuition Information Management Platform.

Details concerning most of these products are described in Fire Paradox White Book. The Book includes an attached CD containing some of the most significant deliverables of the project, helping the reader who seeks more detailed information to find his/her way to the project achievements.

White book - http//

Online Multimedia Plateform : Prototype