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Profile of Forest Fire

Global
United State of America
Forest Fire
In United State of America,the policy of the United States Forest Service from 1905 to the 1960s was to control fires to less than 10 acres by 10 a.m. the following day (the 10 A.M. Policy). This resulted in the buildup of fuel in some ecosystems such as dry ponderosa pine forests. The policy began to be questioned in the 1960s, when it was realized that no new Giant Sequoia had been grown in the forests of California, because fire is an essential part of their life cycle. The passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act encouraged the allowance of natural processes to occur, including fire. The U.S. Forest Service changed its policy in the 1970s from complete suppression to fire management. While the Yellowstone fires of 1988 were caused by escaped fires from controlled burns, later investigations proved the fire use policy was appropriate, though needing strengthening and improvement. After the 1994 US fire season which included the South Canyon Fire that killed 14 firefighters, a more comprehensive fire policy was created, recognizing the need for fire in the maintenance of wildland systems However, as a result of missed fire cycles, there remains a excess of vegetation overgrowth from previous years of complete suppression.

Australia
Forest Fire
Australia is a large, geographically diverse continent straddling the tropic of Capricorn. It is relatively flat, dry and warm although it also has mountains of moderate height (particularly along the eastern seaboard), rainforests and ski-fields - as well as a large arid and semi-arid zone. Australia is a fire-prone continent. Fires occur in rainforests and in deserts. Its people have ignited and lived with landscape fires for perhaps 60 000 years, the current antiquity considered for Aboriginal people in Australia (Miller et al. 1999). Consideration of fires without consideration of people in Australia is sometimes difficult, sometimes impossible, often unwise.
Fire regimes and their effects are wide ranging. Fires occur with a mean interval of 1 to 2 years in parts of the savannah in the tropical north and of the order of 300 or more years in the temperate rainforests of the southeast. Fires occur at all times of the year in some part of the continent. Intensities of surface fires probably reach a maximum of the order of 100 000 kWm-1 (Gill and Moore 1990). Peat fires, which occur especially in Tasmania, can have long-term ecological significance, but are not widespread on a continental scale. Australia has a large and diverse flora and fauna, much of it unique to the continent. This diversity, combined with the fact that there is a wide range of fire regimes and physical environments, means that there is an enormous range of potential fire regime effects. These effects include local extinction of flora and fauna, changes in water yield and quality, changes in pasture palatability, and woody plant encroachment.


Canada
Forest Fire

Fire plays an important role in most forest ecosystems in Canada. As these ecosystems have evolved over the last 10,000-15,000 years (since the glacial retreat at the end of the last ice age), fire has helped to maintain their health and diversity. From a socio-economic perspective fire can, however, have negative or undesirable effects on public health and safety, property, and natural resources?

The challenge of managing fire in Canada is to find ways to effectively balance the positive ecological aspects of fire with the negative social and economic impacts. The Government of Canada, through Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Forest Service (CFS), makes an important contribution to fire management in two ways.

First, the CFS has maintained an internationally recognized research program since the mid-1920s that has resulted in many innovations and new operational tools. Secondly, over the past two decades we have developed information systems that use advanced technologies (e.g., geographic information systems and remote sensing) to monitor and report on forest fire activity at a national scale. These activities have resulted in Canada becoming a world leader in forest fire research and management and have contributed to the overall safety and well-being of Canadians and to the sustainability of our forests.


Indonesia

Forest fires in Indonesia occurred annually. When there is a weather pattern disturbance because of strong El Nino, the number and the distribution of forest fires in Indonesia increased significantly. When there is a weather pattern disturbance because of strong La Nina, the number and the distribution of forest fire in Indonesia decreased. An El Nino is usually followed by La Nina on the following year. The strength of disturbance is determined by Southern oscillation index. Large forest fire in Indonesia because of strong El Nino. Large forest fires periodically occur with an interval of 3 to 5 years, due to an unusually long dry season. It is well known that in 1982 and 1983 in East Kalimantan the fire-damaged forest area amounted to 3.5 million hectares. Smoke from forest fires in 1991 and 1994 caused disturbance of air and marine traffic in neighbouring countries. Forest fire and smoke control is the target of highest priority for the Government of Indonesia. Longer term strategies to control and or prevent future fire and haze incidents include:

  • Introducing national fire prevention legislation (zero burning policy by law).
  • Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the various national agencies involved in fire and haze management (BAPEDAL - early warning, advocacy and detection, MoFEC - prevention and suppression, BAKORNAS PB/ Civil Defence - incident command during fire disaster).
  • Upgrading the existing Air Quality Monitoring System by obtaining an additional 19 stations and mobile monitoring units
  • Establishing a Fire Danger Rating System optimised to the Indonesian fire environment.

Japan

Forests are deeply embedded in Japanese culture. This is not only represented by abundant traditional wooden buildings. Many tree reserves around temples and shrines indicate the high value of trees and forests. With 25 million ha of forests, corresponding to a forest cover rate of 67 percent, Japan is one of the most densely forested countries in the world. Influenced by its climatic and topographic conditions, it is a widely accepted perception that natural disasters such as floods and landslides are common in Japan (Forestry Agency Japan 1994). Despite the humid climate, the annual number of forest fires often exceeds 4 000, affecting an average area of more than 4 000 ha in the 1980s and 2 300 ha in the 1990s

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