Major fires are a permanent reality in southern Europe. The problem in Iberia stems from depopulation of rural areas, homogenisation of the landscape and the emergence of highly fire-prone forests. This has led to bigger and more intense fires, and enabled the growth of invasive species. Portugal and Spain saw their worst ever year for forest fires in 2017, with respectively around 500 000 ha and 178 000 ha affected. The fires marked both an environmental and social tragedy, with a devastating loss of lives and forest.
LIFE LANDSCAPE FIREs main objective is to develop an effective procedure for fire prevention in Viseu Do Lafes (Portugal) and in Sierra de Gata, Las Hurdes and Sierra de San Pedro (Spain). It will carry out a series of pilot actions, based on a methodology successfully implemented elsewhere (in Andalusia and Catalonia). This methodology combines prescribed fires and grazing techniques to reduce forest fuel, converting fire-prone forests into more resilient areas.
The project will contribute to a range of EU policy and legislation, including: the forest strategy; roadmap to a resource efficient Europe; circular economy action plan; thematic strategy for soil protection; biodiversity strategy; and the Habitats and Birds directives.