Aim: The aim of this paper is to discuss the issue of forest fire risk determination method for military purposes and to present a new emergency forest fire risk projection method.
Introduction: Military areas cover about 167,000 hectares of forest with a high forest fire risk due to the different types of incendiaries in use. A total of 475 fires broke out in the military training areas in 2008-2015, covering an aggregate area of 2,500 ha. The type of conducted training and ammunition used for shooting and bombing depends on the forest fire risk level. The hours at which these levels were determined and the size of the prognostic zones (especially under variable weather conditions) created discrepancies between the forecasted and the actual fire risk levels, thus potentially putting constraints on the types of training which could be conducted.
Methodology: At the introductory stage of the work, the procedural requirements for the military training were analysed and the forest fire risk in the military training areas was scrutinised. First, the existing and proven Polish methods for forest fire risk determination for military purposes were exam-ined when considering the development of a new method. It was assumed that the method should be easy to apply, compatible with the forest fire risk projection system in place in State Forests, and suitable for accurately determining the fire risk at any hour of the day. At the last stage, the method was verified (by comparison with the FRI (Forest Research Institute method) using archival data and a pilot project implemented in 2015 during the NOBLE JUMP exercise in the Żagań military training area.
Conclusions: The newly developed forest fire risk level determination method for military purposes can be used to determine the risk level at any hour of night or day on request by the military training area user. It is more accurate in reflecting the actual risk and thus can make the training of both the Polish and allied militaries more effective and less expensive. Moreover, as the method can be used to make rational choices as to the type of exercises to be conducted based on the local fire risk within the military training area, it benefits environmental safety and protection as well. The method was applied in 11 military training areas and included in the amended Agreement between the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of the Environment, and also applied in 2016 during NATO manoeuvres, codename Anaconda.
Keywords: forest fire risk, military training areas, forest fire risk determination method
Type of article: review article