Forest fires often pose a partic­u­lar chal­lenge to affected regions, espe­cially in south­ern Europe. While regu­larly affected coun­tries have fire­fight­ers well trained and expe­ri­enced in Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung, increas­ingly frequent, partic­u­larly dry and hot months are result­ing in pronounced fire years that are increas­ingly over­whelm­ing local response orga­ni­za­tions and resources. Suprare­gional help is then needed.

Suprare­gional assis­tance is needed for large wild­fires to relieve local forces

However, mutual assis­tance from regu­larly affected coun­tries within Europe is usually mutu­ally exclu­sive, since crit­i­cal condi­tions often prevail simul­ta­ne­ously through­out Europe and thus one’s own forces are needed in one’s own area of operation.

Since the year 2002, @fire has been engaged in fight­ing Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung at home and abroad.

This dilemma was the found­ing idea of @fire: train respon­ders in less affected areas to serve as mobile, inter-regional response units for Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung with­out weak­en­ing basic protec­tion in their area of origin.

Forest fire fight­ing on the ground

Based on inter­na­tional train­ing and expe­ri­ence, @fire has special forces special­ized in Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung espe­cially with hand tools.

The specifics of vege­ta­tion, terrain, weather, and the remote­ness of fire scenes often compli­cate extin­guish­ing efforts using vehi­cle-based fire­fight­ing tactics - this is where @fire assists. Using tactics specif­i­cally designed for Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung, @fire’s trained respon­ders can effec­tively fight fires with­out the need for large amounts of water, which is often unavail­able or costly to obtain.

For this purpose, for exam­ple, wound strips are created and/or vari­ous types of pre- and counter-fire are used to deprive the actual fire of nourishment.

The advan­tage of these task forces is their rapid oper­a­tional readi­ness, prob­lem-free (inter­na­tional) trans­port, high mobil­ity and the possi­bil­ity of deploy­ment in diffi­cult terrain, even away from paved roads and exist­ing infra­struc­ture. This form of oper­a­tion has proven very success­ful, and not only in regions that are diffi­cult to access. In combi­na­tion with water drops (airplanes or heli­copters) and fire­fight­ing vehi­cles, a hand crew can unleash its full power.

In partic­u­lar, @fire’s units special­ize in:

Build­ing protection

Protec­tion of houses and build­ings, within the frame­work of the so-called “wild­land-urban inter­face”, the tran­si­tion between nature and urban areas.

First attack

Rapid initial attack on an incip­i­ent fire, if neces­sary by heli­copter, to contain and ideally extin­guish the fire in its incip­i­ent phase.

Post-extin­guish­ing work

Selec­tive and thus resource-saving post-extin­guish­ing work in which embers are local­ized and extin­guished individually.

Controlled burn­ing

Burn­ing out the areas between the fire­break and the actual damag­ing fire to increase the protec­tive strip and prevent fire jumping.

All the neces­sary oper­a­tional mate­ri­als such as hand tools, motor­ized chain saws, small pumps with hoses and fittings, commu­ni­ca­tions and oper­a­tional logis­tics are packed in trans­port crates, stored in trail­ers and vehi­cles distrib­uted through­out Germany or perma­nently ready for use in the central oper­a­tional warehouses.

Fire fight­ing from the air

Aircraft, prop­erly used, can be an effec­tive and effi­cient means of support­ing Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung. Although ground forces are always needed to ulti­mately fight a fire, heli­copters can provide crit­i­cal support to this fire­fight­ing effort.

Heli­copters can support a fire­fight­ing oper­a­tion - but a fire is extin­guished on the ground.

Since flight hours are rela­tively cost-inten­sive and flight oper­a­tions have a high poten­tial for danger, @fire and its part­ners have launched the“Team Phoenix” initia­tive to make coor­di­nated air-ground oper­a­tions in Germany more effec­tive and safer and to develop uniform train­ing and oper­a­tional standards.

Controlled burn­ing

For conser­va­tion purposes and vege­ta­tion fire preven­tion, @fire assists forestry agen­cies and conser­va­tion author­i­ties with controlled burn­ing of spec­i­fied areas. This serves in partic­u­lar the ecolog­i­cal renat­u­ra­tion and biodi­ver­sity promo­tion of certain vege­ta­tion species.

Further­more, controlled burn­ing of vege­ta­tion can reduce the fire load (includ­ing dead wood, blow­down) even in areas that are diffi­cult to access and prevent damag­ing fires and their devas­tat­ing destruc­tion. Taking into account the Federal Nature Conser­va­tion Act as well as the respec­tive state forest laws and, if neces­sary, other require­ments, we strate­gi­cally burn the defined areas using biodegrad­able liquid fuels.

Exten­sive plan­ning is neces­sary so that primar­ily the animal world is not irrepara­bly damaged. The burned areas are then further moni­tored and surveyed by our burn­ing special­ists over their devel­op­ment for months to years.