PL-UA 2021-27
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Rapid reaction to disasters - safer Carpathians

05 / 07 / 2024
Category: Project News

Another Grant Contract for the implementation of a Large Infrastructure Project has been signed within the PL-UA Programme. The project, entitled Environmental Safety - Creation of a Ukrainian-Polish Forest Fire Management Network in the Carpathian Region (acronym – UP2FireSafety), will be implemented under the priority ENVIRONMENT. This initiative will be implemented by the Main Department of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, in partnership with the State Emergency Services in Lviv, Transcarpathian, and Ternopil Oblasts, as well as the Regional Headquarters of the State Fire Service in Rzeszów, Poland.

This project addresses the problem of large-scale forest fires in the Ukrainian-Polish cross-border region and the insufficient capacity of fire services on both sides of the border to provide an effective and coordinated response.

Recently, both our countries have witnessed a significant rise in forest fires, attributed to climate change. Additionally, there is a growing occurrence of high-intensity "megafires" that quickly spread over large territories, often beyond the state border. Given the potential destructiveness of such fires, it is crucial to establish a joint structure for a coordinated response – said Volodymyr Chernetskyi, the Head of the Main Department of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.

Efforts will focus on bridging the gaps in monitoring, communication, and coordination mechanisms between Ukrainian and Polish fire rescue and emergency institutions. To that end, joint instructions, setting unified standard operating procedures for interaction between Ukrainian and Polish fire and emergency response institutions, will be developed. Additionally, a common system for Monitoring and Elimination of Forest Fires in the Carpathian Region – a multifunctional Geographic Information System – will be created.

Plans include upgrading existing infrastructure and equipment for forest fire management and integrating them into a single network of centers and subcenters (in Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhhorod, and Brzozów). As vehicles play a critical role in the swift response to large-scale forest fires, all project partners will purchase specialized vehicles with high-end equipment, ensuring timely containment and extinguishing of fires.

This project also features an educational component, with training sessions for Ukrainian and Polish rescuers using international best practices in this field, combining theoretical and practical elements. To engage the cross-border communities and highlight the challenges wildfires provoke, a “Save the Biodiversity” awareness-raising campaign focusing on the importance of wildfire prevention and response will be conducted. It is expected that more than 50,000 people will participate in the events, ranging from “Weeks of Knowledge” in schools and camps for children to a large-scale public event.

Overall, the initiative will ensure sustainable improvements in forest fire management across the Carpathian cross-border region with lasting benefits for people and nature. The best practices generated will be shared with other regions and have the potential to be used in future.

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