Last Octo­ber, four @fire lead­ers from all over Germany took part in a special course run by the Pau Costa Foun­da­tion on the use of util­ity fires in forested areas in Spain. All partic­i­pat­ing @fire members are partic­u­larly expe­ri­enced oper­a­tional forces, with the career status of Wild­land­fire­fight­ing Special­ist incl. Empow­er­ment and train­ing for oper­a­tional command. 

The five-day English-language course in tech­ni­cal fire manage­ment covered the basics of mete­o­rol­ogy, fire ecol­ogy and the systemic use of commer­cial fire oper­a­tions for the preven­tion and tacti­cal control of vege­ta­tion fires. Among other things, topics such as the execu­tion of a pre-fire or counter-fire were trained theo­ret­i­cally as well as prac­ti­cally. For this, it had already been neces­sary to study some tech­ni­cal liter­a­ture in advance in order to be able to spend the first few days at the Insti­tut de segure­tat pública de catalunya (Fire Service Acad­emy of Catalonia). 

Together with 10 other lead­ers from the Nether­lands, Italy, North­ern Ireland, Spain and the USA, after the initial in-house days in Barcelona, the first preven­tive fires were set in the hinter­land of Catalo­nia under the guid­ance of numer­ous instruc­tors and lectur­ers from the PauCosta Foun­da­tion and a Span­ish fire brigade special­ist unit for forest fires (GRAF unit). All in all, more than 100 hectares of forest around Manresa and Mont­blanc were success­fully managed by the controlled use of fire during the train­ing week. In Catalo­nia, this form of forest manage­ment, outside the forest fire season, takes place up to one hundred times per mid-season. 

Partic­u­larly note­wor­thy has been the targeted strate­gic imple­men­ta­tion, with special atten­tion paid to resource-saving support for the firing projects. Finally, each burn­ing oper­a­tion was accom­pa­nied by only one fire engine as a safety measure. In view of the strate­gic use of fire, however, no inter­ven­tion with extin­guish­ing water was neces­sary at any time, so that only post-extin­guish­ing work was carried out with special proce­dures in the periph­eral areas of the burnt areas. 

This past course in Spain is the first in a series of courses for tacti­cal use. Through a coop­er­a­tion with the PauCosta Foun­da­tion, our members were given the oppor­tu­nity to complete vari­ous courses and careers in the coming years. Both the Span­ish respon­ders and the @fire members receive inten­sive train­ing as part of their respec­tive careers, strongly based on the US National Wild­fire Coor­di­na­tion Group guidelines.

Due to the very simi­lar train­ing and iden­ti­cal termi­nol­ogy, it is possi­ble to work hand in hand and learn from each other. By acting together and pool­ing our respec­tive strengths and compe­ten­cies, we are also able to teach vari­ous vege­ta­tion fire­fight­ing topics in Germany.
There­fore, within the frame­work of the coop­er­a­tion, which has been ongo­ing since 2019, another fire analy­sis course of the PauCostaFoun­da­tion together with @fire will already take place in Germany in Novem­ber 2021.