Forest fire campaign 2021
Measures to fight the phenomenon of forest fires
In view of the launch of the 2021 summer forest firefighting campaign, the President of the Council of Ministers has provided the Regions, Autonomous Provinces and Ministers concerned with "Recommendations for a more effective fight against forest fires, interface fires and related risks", so as to adopt all the necessary measures to prevent and tackle this phenomenon, also considering the ongoing emergency situation linked to Covid-19.
In the document, signed by the President on May 31, 2021, are recalled the tasks, responsibilities and initiatives that the various bodies and administrations must adopt for effective action and coordination of forces.
The Recommendations also include the activity of analysis and debriefing carried out by the Interinstitutional Technical Table established and coordinated by the Department of Civil Protection in April 2018 to monitor the forest fire sector and to propose operational and improvement solutions.
In the Technical Table are represented both the regional administrations - holders of the fire-fighting matter - and the state components such as the National Corps of Firefighters, the Carabinieri Corps, the Ministry of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies, as well as a representation of municipalities through the ANCI.
The Civil Protection Department, which coordinates the aerial fire-fighting fleet of the State on the national territory through the Coau - Unified Aerial Operations Center, also distributes to the Regions and Autonomous Provinces the operational procedures for the request of aerial support to regional equipment.
Also for 2021, the President of the Council of Ministers sets out the recommendations, addressed to Regions and Autonomous Provinces, for an effective fight against forest fires, interface fires and the risks that follow.
The Prime Minister's recommendations underline the importance of a growing commitment in terms of forecasting, prevention, planning and active fight against forest fires.
As far as forecasting and prevention activities are concerned, Regions and Autonomous Provinces are called upon to encourage the use of the information available at the decentralized functional Centers and to promote the production of a fire bulletin, in order to strengthen activities of reconnaissance, surveillance, warning and alarm, together with activities of forest fire extinguishing and civil protection at different territorial levels.
Of particular importance is also to continue and strengthen the action of public awareness, also through the indications provided by the Technical Table through the document "information to the population on forest fire risk scenarios and related rules of conduct", shared with all the Regions and Autonomous Provinces.
With regard to planning activities, the regional administrations and the Autonomous Provinces will provide for the annual revision of the Regional Plan for the programming of forecasting, prevention and active fight against forest fires. Together with the Prefectures, they are requested to support the Mayors in the preparation and updating of municipal and inter-municipal civil protection plans and to promote specific agreements aimed at guaranteeing effective cooperation in case of particularly intense events or in periods of higher risk.
In terms of the active fight against forest fires, Regions and Autonomous Provinces are expected to modulate the ground and air forces according to the needs of the territory. They are also required to train Aib operators and ensure an adequate number of Directors of fire-fighting operations. Twinning is encouraged both to exchange expertise and to promote effective and coordinated intervention in case of emergency.
The State air fleet is coordinated by the COAU - Centro Operativo Aereo Unificato of the Department of Civil Protection. The deployment of the fleet is established on the basis of a series of elements - weather forecasts, historical statistics, availability of regional means, availability of water sources, and consistency of the regional fleet - and can be reshaped according to contingent situations of high criticality.
During the period of peak alert, the air fleet will be deployed throughout the country and in particular in the hubs of Genoa, L'Aquila, Viterbo, Rieti, Rome-Urbe, Ciampino, Naples-Capodichino, Pontecagnano-Salerno, Viggiano, Lamezia Terme, Reggio Calabria, Catania, Sigonella, Trapani, Cagliari, Olbia.
In case of fire, the first to intervene are the ground teams coordinated by the Regions. If the fire is large and the work of the ground teams is not sufficient, the DOS may request the intervention of the aerial means provided by the Region (mainly helicopters). If these are not sufficient, the Region, through the SOUP and/or Regional Operations Centers, requests the intervention of the State air fleet from the Unified Air Operations Center.
The request for aerial support is made according to precise procedures defined by the Department. Every year the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces send the information concerning the organization of the forecasting, prevention and active fight activities, in order to harmonize the regional capacity with the contribution of the State and to optimize a mutual synergy.
Particular attention is also paid to interventions abroad. The vast forest fires that have occurred in the past years, especially in countries of the Mediterranean basin, have required the intervention of the State firefighting fleet also outside national borders, in accordance with mutual support mechanisms developed within Europe or under bilateral agreements.
For the summer forest firefighting campaign 2021, the State Air Fleet, in the period of maximum attention is composed of 15 Canadair CL415 aircraft and 5 Erickson S64F helicopters.
In the event of extremely critical situations, aircraft co-financed by the European Commission under the "rescEU" project may also be deployed on national territory.
In addition to the Canadair and S64 helicopters, a further 10 helicopters will be used by the Defence, the National Fire Brigade and the Carabinieri.