Human Factors of Fire Occurrence in the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean region accounts the larger proportion of human caused fires in the world (95%) followed by South Asia (90%), South America (85%) and Northeast Asia (80%) (FAO 2007). Socio-economic changes which are occurring in Europe along with global warming result in an augment of fire risk. Systematic and reliable information on fire causes is necessary in order to improve wildland fire management. However, collection of information on forest fire causes and motivations is still quite restricted in most countries around the world. The unknown cause is still too frequent in many wildfire statistics. A promising technique to overcome this shortcoming is the Delphi technique which uses a panel of carefully selected experts to improve the knowledge on fire motivations in a specific area. Understanding more about why people start fires would help to reduce the impacts of deliberate fire lighting. Spatial and temporal analysis of wildland fire occurrence data and the interaction with explanatory geographical variables is a critical part of fire management activities. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are appropriate tools to create, transform, combine and integrate variables related to fire risk in order to find geographical and analytical relationships which help to discriminate areas where risk factors are most severe in order to adopt the appropriate preventive actions.