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    Forests Better Protected against Fire

    The first edition of a project supporting the forest fire protection system is coming to an end. A conference summarizing its seven-year duration was held in the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Łódź.

    The conference provided an opportunity to review the experiences and best practices resulting from the project’s implementation, as well as to present its outcomes. Concrete investments in the field, such as fire lookout towers, firefighting and patrol vehicles, and equipment for alarm and dispatch points, were showcased during a study visit to the Kolumna Forest District.

    “The comprehensive project of adapting forests and forestry to climate change – preventing, combating, and mitigating the effects of forest fires – had an investment character and involved strengthening and supplementing important elements of the forest fire protection system in State Forests,”

    emphasized Beata Grabska, Deputy Director of the Coordination Center for Environmental Projects at State Forests.

    “Maintaining this system at the highest efficiency and readiness for action is one of the important aspects of adapting forests and forestry to the changing climate. Periods of drought and aridity, which we increasingly experience in Poland as well, increase the fire hazard in forests. Of course, fire does not appear in the forest spontaneously – the source of the vast majority of fires is still human activity. Due to these risk factors, it is not possible to completely eliminate them, but what we can influence is increasing the efficiency of fire detection and localization, as well as the speed and capabilities of responding to emerging threats. Early detection of fire, determining the location of the incident, and quickly dispatching forest services and, if necessary, informing the fire brigade are crucial for limiting the burned area and minimizing the natural and economic losses caused by fire.”

    she added.

    Thanks to the project formula, the Coordination Center for Environmental Projects secured over PLN 50 million in funding from the European Funds (Infrastructure and Environment Program) for forest districts. The total value of the project, including the State Forests’ own contribution, amounted to approximately PLN 87 million.

    State Forests of Poland/ press materials

    The project was guided by the idea of comprehensiveness from the beginning – if a fire lookout tower was being built, equipment for fire localization was also purchased and installed on top of it, as far as funds allowed. The range of activities included diverse tasks, starting from investments in large-volume facilities (concrete fire lookout towers with observer cabins, lattice observation masts) to equipping alarm and dispatch points, and ending with small but necessary components of the system, such as meteorological stations. The project also involved the purchase of lightweight patrol and firefighting vehicles designed for patrolling forests during the fire hazard period (spring-autumn) and extinguishing small-scale fires. Organizing a central tender ensured the delivery of reliable, standardized equipment successfully used by State Forest units in the field.

    It is now known that the project will continue as part of the European Funds for Infrastructure, Climate and Environment (FEnIKS) program. A record number of forest districts – 221 – have declared their interest in participating, and the value of new tasks has been estimated at around PLN 160 million, twice as much as in the current edition. The scope of activities will be expanded, encompassing not only the previously implemented investments but also the construction of water collection points in forests, the financing of forest air bases, and forest firefighting equipment bases.

    State Forests / press material

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