Worldwide, forest fire regimes have undergone significant changes in recent decades. These changes in the fire regime call for scientists and managers to adapt their strategies and develop new tools for fire prevention and risk assessment based on sound knowledge and multidisciplinary scientific cooperation. Forest fires are also frequent and a problem in the Black Sea region. This summer (2011) in the Dadia Forest of Evros Prefecture Thraki Region, Greece 7000 hectares of forest were burnt. The impending impacts of climate change (increased temperatures) will increase forest fires with immediate and more advanced actions required to minimize them. Forest fires will also increase in areas that did not have such great potential. An example is the extensive forest fires that occurred in Russia in the summer of 2010 that led to thousands of hectares of burned forest, extensive damages (burned houses) and unfortunately the loss of human lives. Such tragedies need to avoid but due the economic crisis new cost-‐effective approaches need to be implemented. This can happen with proactive measured and by utilizing new technologies to better prepare us. The key to suppress forest fires is the availability of water. While during daytime water is plentiful in many cases to the air vehicles because of the regions proximity of the sea this is not the case during night time. During night time land forest fire vehicles are the main means to suppress forest fires because airplanes and helicopters cannot be used (increased dangers). The collection of stream water in reservoirs could be used by the land vehicles to suppress forest fires during night times. Many forests of the region are in mountainous or in remote areas, with streams the closest surface water bodies. This fact makes stream water the most logical and feasible source of water that could be utilized to suppress forest fires. In addition many countries of the Black Sea region land vehicles are the only means of forest fires suppression because fire have not been in the past a serious. This is of course changing due to impending climate changes impacts on fire regimes. Finally many of these forested areas that get burned or are potentially areas of fires are protected areas and of significant ecological importance. This makes it even more important to protect effectively these areas. In many cases these areas because of the nature of the protection have limited roads in poor condition that make it essential to have water resources available in these areas for fire protection. Based on the information above it becomes obvious that proactive measured for the entire region and the protected areas are required. Certain countries with extensive experience in dealing with forest fires could help the other countries of the region to overcome inexperience issues. Overall, a system that will utilize new technologies and will provide support to institutions in the Black Sea region that are responsible for suppressing forest fires is a necessity.
Photograph Ioannis Mitsopoulos