Wildfire management in Mediterranean-type regions: paradigm change needed

Moreira F., Ascoli D., Safford H., Adams M. A., Moreno J. M., Pereira J. M. C., ...More

ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, vol.15, no.1, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Editorial Material
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab541e
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, Compendex, Geobase, INSPEC, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: wildfires, management policy, Mediterranean-type regions, Australia, Chile, California, South Africa, FIRE MANAGEMENT, BURNED AREA, PORTUGAL
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


During the last decades, climate and land use changes led to an increased prevalence of megafires in Mediterranean-type climate regions (MCRs). Here, we argue that current wildfire management policies in MCRs are destined to fail. Focused on fire suppression, these policies largely ignore ongoing climate warming and landscape-scale buildup of fuels. The result is a 'firefighting trap' that contributes to ongoing fuel accumulation precluding suppression under extreme fire weather, and resulting in more severe and larger fires. We believe that a 'business as usual' approach to wildfire in MCRs will not solve the fire problem, and recommend that policy and expenditures be rebalanced between suppression and mitigation of the negative impacts of fire. This requires a paradigm shift: policy effectiveness should not be primarily measured as a function of area burned (as it usually is), but rather as a function of avoided socio-ecological damage and loss.