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Dubrovnik, March 24, 2014
The third agrometeorological workshop Agrometeorology in the service to the users: "Environmental protection and forest fires"

Within the program "Agrometeorology in the service to the users" of Croatian Agrometeorological Society, on Monday, March 24, 2014., the third agrometeorological workshop, entitled "Environmental protection and forest fires" was held in Dubrovnik.

Since the Dubrovnik-Neretva County is one of the most endangered areas due to forest fires, the goal of this workshop was to objectively inform the volunteer and professional firefighters and foresters on weather situations that cause catastrophic fires, and about climate change and the potential danger of forest fires. The purpose of this workshop was to show that the forest fires are really complex issue that is not only a problem of the fire service, but also of other fields such as meteorology, forestry, nature conservation and environmental protection, tourism and the economy.

The workshop began with a welcoming speech by  Višnja Vučetić, PhD., president of HagMD. Following speeches were held by Željko Kurtela, PhD., Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dubrovnik,  Marija Crnčević, MSc., director of the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Natural Areas ​​in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Zoran Đurđević, MSc., Head of Forest Management Unit Split, Mr. Željko Raguž, Deputy Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, Mr. Stjepan Simović, commander of the Firefighting association of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Davorko Obujen, MSc., Deputy Prefect of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Finaly, the chief of Croatian firefighting association, Željko Popović, MSc., addressed to the participants and opened the workshop. This workshop, with all of our desires and efforts, could not be accomplished without the financial support of the City of Dubrovnik and numerous co-organizers and donors.

From the total of 98 participants at the workshop, there was about 80 firefighters and foresters from throughout the county. Besides participants from Dubrovnik-Neretva County, we had participants from Split-Dalmatia County,  as well as guests from neighboring Montenegro, by which this workshop has took on an international character. Within three sections, there was a total of 13 lectures in which participants were able to hear how climate change affects the potential risk of forest fires and how meteorology and certain weather situation are closely related to forest fires. The affected areas from forest fires, the analysis of dry spells, and also evaporation from plants and the soil was shown. Also, it was shown how seasonal forecasts can help in protection against forest fires. Finally, from the  aspect of forestry,  the possibility of agro forestry in Croatia and basic characteristics of forest fuel management and restoration of Mediterranean forests in the issue of forest fires was presented.

Participants were actively engaged in discussions and constructively contributed to the clarification of their current problems, and thus contributed in making the concrete conclusions. Also, the fire service had not been aware of the usefulness of agrometeorological information, and even with the abundance of information that exist, which are sadly insufficiently used. Feedback that we received from the participants of the workshop were very positive and satisfaction with the quality of workshop is mutual.

In concluding remarks it was pointed out a few facts :

• With regard to the problem of lack of qualitative agrometeorological measurements in the Dubrovnik area for the protection of forests against fire, there is a need for the establishment of automated measuring stations by the interested institutions, together in collaboration with the MHS.

• Forest management has offered help in launching the operation of existing weather stations or setting up new weather stations by sending official letter to the competent institutions, and also they offered the use of their databases on forest fires for research purposes.

• It is necessary to create the maps of fire spreading directly on fire site, so that on the basis of them, experts are able to draw conclusions about the speed of fire spread in different weather conditions.

• All institutions should indicate the need to change the program and the concept of the fire season, because the real needs of the fire service have changed, ie, experience in the field indicate the occurrence of fires throughout the year, which means that there is the need of the continuous calculation of risk index.

•The importance of better communication between institutions and better exchange of data needed for a variety of research  was recognized.

• It is necessary to devise a more effective system to inform the fire service of the adverse weather conditions that could increase the risk of forest fires, as well as to establish a systematic training of firefighters for easier understanding of the obtained forecasting products.

                                                                                                                                                Petra Sviličić, mag. phys.-geophys.

 

 Participants of the third agrometorological workshop "Environmental protection and forest fires"
in Dubrovnik , March 24, 2014.

 

 

 Part of the speakers and the Organising Committee of the third agrometeorological workshop

"Environmental protection and forest fires" in Dubrovnik, March 24, 2014.

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