Forest fires are a global, environmental as well as economic problem. More than 50,000 forest fires are recorded annually worldwide, destroying about 400,000 hectares of forest. Of the total recorded number of fires in the state forests of Serbia from 2007 to 2016, 922 ground fires are participating in just over 80 percent of cases, and high in 17 percent. The total burned area in the state forests amounted to about 20,400 ha, or approximately 2,040 ha was covered on average annually, research shows.
The protection of forests from forest fires, especially in extreme climatic conditions suitable for the occurrence of fires, is one of the most important goals of PE “Srbijašume”, as well as the entire society, given the importance and functions of forests, site Associations of Forest Engineers and Technicians of Serbia.
It is a dangerous occurrence for the safety of people and their property, of course, if they occur near populated areas. At that time, not only firefighters but also, we witness, the inhabitants of the endangered populated areas, who protect themselves and their property, are fighting the firestorm. It is not at all easy to deal with nature-consuming fire, especially when extinguishing conditions are hindered by the effects of wind and high temperatures. But even when people and their possessions are not directly threatened, fires have a profound environmental impact. Something that has been created for years, decades, will be destroyed in a very short time, and then again a long period of time will be needed to restore the vegetation.
The consequences of the fire are immediately apparent
Each fire has a tremendous impact on the biodiversity, destruction or reduction of common forest functions and species migration. A prime example is those that occur in the spring when nature wakes up, and many animal species are preparing to reproduce in their habitats. And while it takes a long time to create an ecosystem, a larger fire in a short time – it all degrades.
How the fire affects nature, Agroklub.rs asked Robert Primorac, B.Sc. ing. forestry.
“The negative consequences are visible immediately as the forest ecosystem is destroyed. In the case of large fires, upon their completion, renewal occurs, which can be fast and successful, but in rare cases severe and slow, ”explains Primorac, adding that only two to three growing seasons create conditions for a fresh start and flora and fauna development. “This is accomplished when pioneering species that regenerate and mineralize the soil interact in common with climatogenic species in the affected locality,” he adds.
What is the impact of man on these changes?
In addition to the degraded appearance and long-term effects on wildlife, fires also affect the climate in general as they generate large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), an exhaust gas that contributes to adverse climate change. In addition, there is a negative impact of fire on the physical and chemical properties of soil. In this way, the amount and content of humus in soil that becomes dry, heavy and impermeable to water is reduced and is often fired.
Man can influence the rehabilitation of burned areas by removing the damaged trees in the forest by sanitary felling, as well as contributing to the restoration of nature by measures of soil protection. It can be natural, assisted natural and active naturally – artificial.
The most that people can contribute to the environment is to be conscientious and not destroy it, and ignition is one of the fastest forms of destruction. It has been scientifically proven that staying in forests reduces stress, therefore, improves overall human health. Time spent in a destroyed nature can only make us angry, which on the one hand, those who destroy it, on the other, are rarely punished adequately by the competent institutions.
And while it takes one careless person and one person to burn, it often takes dozens of people, services and more days to put out the fire. As already stated, vegetation needs much longer to rebuild.
Author: Marko Čuljak