Document / Publication
Fire is a natural disturbance event that has also been used by humans for millennia as a tool to manipulate their environment. Fire still plays an essential role in many societies today; however, fire is not always used appropriately and can often be damaging. The danger is exacerbated by issues such as changes in land use, increasing population in rural areas, inadequate or inappropriate policy, and climate change. Traditional fire management practices and contemporary approaches used in developed countries – and increasingly being adopted in developing countries – often do not adequately address the complex issues of fire management. Through its integrated approach, community-based fire management (CBFiM) has the potential to address many of these challenges effectively.
The effective implementation of CBFiM is not without its challenges. Some of these challenges include: lack of institutional support in terms of appropriate policy, limited capacity, minimal training opportunities, lack of incentives for locals to engage and lack of resources, including funding and technical support. It is important that each of these challenges be examined within its individual context and that solutions be developed to meet each unique situation. Tools and resources need to be developed that are culturally appropriate, that are easily accessible to CBFiM practitioners and other end users and that support the effective long-term implementation of CBFiM. CBFiM is not a “one size fits all” approach, but rather must be tailored to meet specific needs and circumstances to be an effective and sustainable approach to fire management.