27 Sep 2018

Forest fire fighting handbook for cross border cooperation with common terms in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Greek


Book Cover

Click on the book cover to go to the download page to download the e-book for printing.


Support for 6 languages:

This publication is one of the results of the F.I.R.E. 4 project that benefits of financial support from the European Commission. Pocket-sized, simple and easy to consult, the book is dedicated to the forest fire fighters of different countries who work together in the field.


Download the e-book for printing in our Resource Library here

Besides the specific forest fire fighting terms, there are also two special section devoted to logistics and to first aid, as well as two appendices (in English language only) related to air-ground communications and to the wind speed.

The number of terms is intentionally limited at less than 200 and the images are intended to be used as a kind of “password”: the images are aimed at facilitating a common understanding among the actors of all involved countries (each terms is thus translated in six languages). In order to allow an easy identification of the area of interest, each topic is marked by the same colour both in the table of content and on the edge of each handbook page.

The present handbook was conceived in the framework of the training activities foreseen by the EU F.I.R.E. 4 Project in order to share a common language among the operational teams of different countries.

The handbook was published thanks to the joint collaboration between the National Forest Corps and the Italian Civil Protection Department.


Fire Behaviour Characteristics Chart

Fire Behaviour Characteristics Chart


Foreword by EU Commissioner for Environment, Stavros Dimas

Over the recent years, southern Europe has been severely affected by forest fires. During the summer 2007 fires claimed more than 80 lives, including five fire fighter pilots. More than 800,000 hectares of forest and vegetation were burned and both areas of great ecological value and historical sites were damaged.

Due to climate changes, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events – such as heat waves – have been more and more increasing. Following those conditions, forest fires can easily begin and spread. It is also noteworthy that the forest fires risk does not only affect southern Europe but has been spreading to central and north European countries as well.

The European Commission is committed to help the EU Member States reduce this risk. Therefore, we need to deepen joint efforts aimed to prevent forest fires as well as to provide an effective and immediate response to emergencies. That is the best way to prevent isolated incidents from bringing about major disasters.

In 2001, the Council of the European Union adopted a Decision creating the Community Mechanism for civil protection. That resulted in the improvement of the European assistance to both Member States and third countries affected by disasters overwhelming the national response capacity. Since its establishment, dealing with the forest fires response has been a major challenge for the Mechanism.

The F.I.R.E. 4 project was initiated in 2006 and is financially supported by the Commission. By promoting the cooperation among EU Member States (France, Italy, Portugal and Spain), the project is aimed to create a shared culture of European disaster management. I am delighted to see that Greece has recently joined the project, which has thus become F.I.R.E. 5, and that other Member States have also expressed a similar interest.

This Handbook was set up and tested by F.I.R.E. 5 during a full-scale exercise held in Sardinia in April 2008, which involved fire-fighting forces of the five countries. It is a useful tool which paves the way to the shaping of a common language used by the staff in charge of fighting forest fires. Moreover, by improving our operational response we are also fulfilling the European citizens political request to take action in order to minimize the threats that forest fires represent for lives, livelihoods and the environment.





In March 2007, the European Union approved the F.I.R.E. 4 proposal - jointly presented by France, Italy, Portugal and Spain - aiming at improving the prevention of natural disasters and the interaction among different teams of Eu- ropean countries in the field. The goal of the initiative is to ensure a better protection of European citizens by developing the European Union rapid response facing all risks related to natural disasters.

Representatives from other Member States - Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Malta and Slovenia - are included in the project as “associated” countries.

The expected results of the F.I.R.E. 4 are the creation of multinational assessment and intervention teams, the establishment of operational management, standard operating procedures and the standardization of technologies.

The activities foreseen to achieve these results are: the implementation of a training programme, that include workshops, training courses, exchange of experts, purchase and sharing of equipment for radio communication and the realization of two international exercises.

In February 2008 the steering Committee of F.I.R.E. 4 decided to include Greece as partner of the project, so the initiative is now known as F.I.R.E. 5.



Edited by Gianfilippo Micillo (Corpo Forestale dello Stato - Italy)
With the collaboration of G. Castiglione, M. Gravano, G. Rovere, S. Semeria

Photographs by C. Boeri, M. Busetto, G. Castiglione, C. Geranio, A. La Marca, G. Micillo, F. Peraboa Mendes, M. Perego, A. Pomati, G. Rovere

Layout Marco Gravano
Cover G. Castiglione, M. Gravano, S. Semeria

Thanks are due to all the colleagues who participated in the F.I.R.E. 4 project training program for their contribution.

Special thanks are due to:
Jacques Bonneval (Sécurité Civile operations manager – France)
Giancarlo Cesti (Corpo Forestale Regionale Valdostano – Italy)
Chiara De Lucia (Corpo Forestale dello Stato – Italy)
Jean Marie Demirdjian (Office National des Forêts – France)
Annika Coll Eriksson (Cuerpo de Bomberos, Comunidad de Madrid – Spain) Claire Kowalewski (Direction de la Défense et de la Sécurité Civiles – France) Sebastien Lacroix (Sapeurs Pompiers – Bouches du Rhône – France)
Alfredo La Marca (aviation photographer – Italy)
Christos Lampris (Fire Brigade – Greece)
Immacolata Librandi (Corpo Forestale dello Stato – Italy)
Vítor Hugo Machado Lima (Guardia Nacional Repubblicana – Portugal)
Maria Dolores Rollan Monedero (Civil Protection – Spain)
Pedro Palhero (Direcção Geral dos Recursos Florestais – GAUF – Portugal) Antonios Panagistakis (Fire Brigade – Greece)
Anthony Pisani (Civil Protection Department – Malta)
Pasquale Quinto (Corpo Forestale dello Stato – Italy)
Giuseppe Ruggiero (Polizia di Stato – Italy)
Kelly Saini (General Secretariat for Civil Protection – Greece)
Luca Torrini (Corpo Forestale dello Stato – Italy)
The fire fighting volunteers team of Ospedaletti – Italy
Giovanni Vetrone (Corpo Forestale dello Stato – Italy)
Grazia Curalli and Titti Postiglione (Italian Civil Protection Department) that gave valuable suggestions.


Download the e-book for printing in our Resource Library here


Book Cover

Click on the book cover to go to the download page in our CTIF Resource Section