Fire Policy and Legal Aspects

The issue of a fire policy and relevant legislation and regulations are the most important prerequisites for any fire management activities. A fire policy, which would be a basic commitment to the fire problem and the definition of a national concept of policies to encounter fire-related problems, needs to embrace the following basic considerations (if not at national level, a policy may also be formulated at the regional or district level):

a. A general statement on the role and impacts of fire in the most important forests and other vegetation of the country (or management unit).

b. A general statement regarding how to counter the negative impacts of fire.

c. Definition of an overall fire management strategy. Definition of fire management policy in the various geographic regions in accordance with vegetation type, demographics and land uses.

d. Definition of the role of the population in participating in fire management activities, especially in fire prevention.

A variety of legal aspects needs to be considered for the implementation of a fire policy and for coherent fire management planning, in general e.g. :

a. Clear definition of landownership and availability of a landownership register.

b. Development of a landscape plan in which clear definitions are given of the land uses permitted or practiced on a defined area of land.

c. Regulations concerning construction in forests and wildlands, especially on burned areas.

d. Clear definition of fire management responsibilities as related to the various types of land ownerships and different tasks in fire management, e.g. fire prevention, fire detection, and fire suppression (including coordination and cooperation).

e. Rehabilitation of burned lands.

f. Law enforcement.

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