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From the CTIF Forest Fire Commission Nov 7 - 10, 2022 in France
09 Jan 2023

Lessons Learned and technical strategies from the 2022 fire season presented at the CTIF Forest Fire Commission meeting in France

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The commission members spent an afternoon performing a large scale exercise in forest firefighting.
The commission members spent an afternoon during the meeting performing a large scale exercise in forest firefighting. 

20 members from 11 countries participated in the CTIF Forest Fire Commission Meeting in Valabre, France last November 7 - 10. The fire season was of 2022 was summed up and strategies and technologies between various countries were compared. 

 

CTIF Commision meeting on forest fires, in Vallabre, France, from November 7 to 10, 2022. 

 

Text by  Zisoula Ntasiou, Commission Secretary

 

The country who organized this year's  meeting was France, specifically the Civil Protection Agency of France and the VALABRE training center, whose commander is also the president of our subcommittee on forest fires, Mr. Jean Marc Bedogni.

A total of 11 countries participated, namely France, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Bulgaria, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Greece.

Presentations were made from all countries on lessons learned and good techniques from the previous 2022 fire season.

Also during the meeting there were presentations, open discussions, workshops and presentations by French Firefighters and also by private companies. 

XThe presentations were about forest fires, the use of specific types of firefighting vehicles, the use of fire track self-protection, the management system of the French Firefighter , the use of retarders by ground and air forces, simulators of ground and air forces, the use of mobile operations centers and detailed description and a presentation of the largest forest fire in 2021 in the South of France.

In particular, issues related to forest fire strategies and management in France were discussed at length. In the last 3 years, the main strategy of the French Firefighters has changed in terms of setting their priorities which is none other than to extinguish the forest fire.

When the French hazard index is 5 and 4, surveillance is carried out with DUSH aircraft loaded with retardant liquid (10,000 liters) which fly for 3 hours but on their first drop they can drop half the amount (5,000 liters).

Dush aircraft are only for initial attack of forest fires then continue their surveillance. The purpose of the above procedure is to be able to attempt immediately at least in 20 minutes, until the other aerial resources arrive.

 

All fire engines used for forest fires in France have a self-protection system. Inside the fire track there are 5 oxygen masks and adjustment of the pressure of the fire track cabin, outside there are sprinklers around the perimeter, but also on the tires of the wheels. The above protection can be used in emergency situations and ensure that firefighters remain inside the fire track in case of forest fire entrapment.

An analysis of the management system of the French Firefighters was carried out and in particular a chief cannot speak and communicate with more than 4-5 people in total and on this logic their system is set up throughout the management pyramid. Their training program has also been determined on this system.

 

Technical tests of fire-fighting suits and retardants were also carried out in the laboratories of the training center of Valabre.
Presentations were made on the use of retardants, the name of the retarder is Phos – Chek is a long lasting retarder and it needs the mixer to produce it. They use it in 3 cases:

• By plane DUSH – air drops.
• With ground forces from fire tracks from cannons and from personnel
on fire in progress.

Also, along with the bulldozers, they open fire zones and put a fire retardant on top of them for better efficiency. Fire tracks
should be cleaned immediately after using the retarder.

• For prevention, near train tracks, on roads in high-risk areas.

Finally, we held a discussion about the definition of a “mega fire”, giving a task to each one of us to define it in our countries during the winter, talking to fire experts, specialists and operational officers and give a detailed definition in our next meeting.

We feel grateful for the excellent organization of the conference by our French colleagues, giving us the opportunity to gain specialized knowledge, network of experts and experience. Thank you for your hospitality.

The next meeting of the CTIF Commission for Forest Fires will be announced in the following month.

 

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Group photo from the Commission Meeting November 7-10 in France. Please view the gallery below for more photos.