Why a changing climate is fuelling wildfire
Changes to our climate lead to bigger wildfires that are more difficult to control. As a result, wildfire management is becoming more important in order to reduce the damage to people, the economy and the environment.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Fynbos Biome, the world’s smallest floral kingdom (of six), but also the richest per unit of area.
Over 9,000 species of flowering plants occur in this tiny area at the southwestern tip of South Africa.
The tiny biome covers about 46,000 km2 (about the size of Bhutan or Estonia), yet contains almost one fifth of all known African plant species.
- The region is a global biodiversity hotspot, internationally acknowledged for its unique floral diversity;
- It is also an important economic hub, rich in agricultural production and creating countless jobs and opportunities; and
- An unparalleled tourism destination.
That’s why it’s imperative to have effectively co-ordinated sustained wildfire management to reduce the risk of uncontrolled fires due to changes in climate.
Integrated Fire Management (IFM) has been defined as a series of actions that include:
- fire awareness and prevention;
- risk mapping;
- hazard identification;
- prescribed burning;
- resource sharing and coordination with fire detection;
- fire suppression; and
- fire damage rehabilitation.
IFM is critical to realise a balanced, workable, and sustainable approach to manage wildfires with minimum harm to people and the environment.
Knowing your fire risks and implementing strategies ahead of the fire season is the first step in curbing financial loss associated with wildfire. Belonging to your local fire protection association means that you become part of a community of vigilant residents who can pool their resources in the event of a looming disaster.