Similarly to forest fire causes analysis, fire consequences study is complex and must consider several factors that may seem quite different from each other at first glance. While emergency response is not always decisive and effective, prevention and proper management of forests and adjacent areas are crucial for limiting fires . Yet, fire departments and rescue teams are indispensable when the fire is in action.
Damages from forest fires are several and of different nature because fires harm both the environment and the safety of the people living in the affected areas. In their post-fire management analysis, the Italian Society of Forestry and Forest Ecology (“SISEF”) stresses the need to promptly monitor the damage severity and quickly secure the affected areas .
These measures are undertaken in the very first weeks after the fire occurs. They must be activated as soon as possible and before the fire is totally extinguished. Indeed, the most urgent danger to tackle is the hydrogeological instability. Many times, a fire can destroy the roots of trees and compromise the stability of the plant-soil-rock system. Moreover, it deposits light ashes on the ground, which can temporarily create a condition of soil impermeability. When the first late summer – early Fall rainfalls and storms arrive, water runoff is stronger and soil erosion cases more frequent .
The real fire management happens in the years and decades after the fire. As with other disturbances (windthrows, insect outbreaks, etc.), the most pressing question is whether to act or leave it to nature. To intervene, and if so, for what purpose? These questions can only be answered only through an in-depth understanding of the landscape and forest ecosystem. Finally, city and land planning must also be considered when choosing the right fire recovery, protection and prevention measures. In the end, prevention and correct management are still the best and most effective solutions.