Forest fire risk assessment and mitigation in Mirandela (Portugal)
Topic of the practice
Good Practice Information
For the Portuguese municipality of Mirandela the risk of forest fires is very tangible. The municipality is located in a rural, mountainous area with a lot of forest. Yearly fires burn over 1000 acres of forest areas at average. The resulting awareness on forest fire risks is high. The municipality therefore invests in several methods to assess and mitigate this risk. Historical data research of the past occurrence of forest fires provides insight in the actual risk of forest fires. Meticulous registration of forest fires by the fire department generated excellent insight in the overall occurrence and in the annual, monthly, weekly and hourly distribution of fires. Another important research is the evaluation of causes or triggers of actual forest fires. Specific registration and research in the period 2001-2006 provided the necessary insight. Besides the temporal distribution, the spatial distribution of fire risks is also important information in the mitigation process. The municipality therefore decided to develop a specific risk map for forest fires, which was designed to provide insight into the different elements of the overall risk.
Evidence of success
The risk mapping exercise provided the municipality with a good incident registration and historical research for its risk assessment policies. Thus, it provided a firm basis for informed policy decision, since with insight into temporal and spatial occurrence and causes, specific prevention and preparedness measures can be taken. With risk mapping the areas burnt in the past, areas with high probability due to surface fire characteristics and areas with a lot of vulnerabilities can be analyzed. The overlapping of these areas gives direct insight in the high risk areas and thus pinpoints the possible areas for specific mitigation like ‘prescribed fire’.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Municipality of Mirandela
Annex completed on: 09-12-2012