Stop the Harmful Forms of Prescribed Burnings!

The international public campaign of the International Socio-Ecological Union







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To launch a creation of an open access international summary georeferenced database of all lands passed by prescribed burnings.


In order to begin the process of solution a set of complicated problems created by the practice of prescribed burning in the world (i.e., to implement proposals No. 1-3 of the campaign), it is necessary to develop an international open access summary georeferenced database of all lands passed by prescribed burning, containing geographically linked information about all territories passed by prescribed (and other intentional) burning. The database can be created independently in each country, but should have general principle of entering data of burning into it. The unification of the database will make it possible to effectively analyze and compare data on intentional burning both within the regions of one country and between different countries. It is necessary that the data of such a database for all possible years be posted on the Internet with the possibility of downloading them for free.

It will be necessary to enter data on the conducted prescribed burnings for various purposes (prevention of wildfires, agriculture, science, restoration of ecosystems, etc.) in this database for all available years and enter such data in the future.


Each case of prescribed burning should be registered in this database according to the following main parameters:


  • georeferenced polygon of the burnt site; shape polygonal file as a standard file of GIS represented a polygon.

  • date of burning . (or interval of dates, for example, from 10 to 15 March 2019);

  • performer of burning. (company and\or a person responsible for the burning);

  • special features of the burning technique . (burning from a helicopter, burning with a drone, the use of chemicals and other essential details).

  • country, administrative unit.


If a burning site will be loaded into the database as a shape polygonal file (the standard file format of geographic information systems (GIS) that displays a georeferenced polygon), then, automatically, it will be possible to receive from it the parameters of the area of the burnt territory and its location on the ground.

This format of registration will allow to conduct research on the consequences of prescribed burning on the territory. For this reason, it is extremely important that the burning site will be recorded as a georeferenced polygonal object, and not as a point or linear object.


Currently, no one country in the world has such open access and detailed database of territories passed by prescribed burning (at least, we do not know such a database).


In many cases, prescribed burnings are registered only on paper or in PDF \ DOCX files in the form of text reports. There is no single consolidated georeferenced database containing information about the territories passed by the prescribed burning, which would be ready for analysis. The burning implemented inside private lands by their owners is most likely not registered anywhere at all.

Hypothetically, independent researchers can get this data if they contact all the companies that conducted prescribed burns in their country and request data from them about the burns. If they pay a lot of money for this data and spend a lot of time trying to turn differently organized reports into a consolidated database of georeferenced data of territories covered by prescribed burns. However, in fact, the lack of a ready database of such data makes independent public monitoring and independent scientific research of the geography, scale, frequency and consequences of prescribed burns much more difficult or even impossible.

If the georeferenced database of lands passed by prescribed burning will be created, it will open wide opportunities for the establishment of independent public control and scientific investigation of the entity and consequences of prescribed burning. Also, it will be extremely important for justification that some forms of artificial burning are useful and safe. Those opportunities are the following:


1. Independent researchers and environmentalists will be able to investigate the geography, scale, frequency, positive and negative consequences of prescribed burns over all years of published data using the analytical and mapping functions of GIS and Remote sensing techniques, as well as other open access georeferenced databases of natural and social process.

2. Any observer (citizen, environmentalist, officers of federal firefighting agency, police, etc) will obtain the possibility to easily reveal the cases when prescribed burns launch wildfires. Currently, it is quasi impossible or very difficult. The method, of how he or she can do it is described in paragraph 3.

3. The open access georeferenced database of lands passed by prescribed burning in combination with free services that show wildfires as hotspots on the ground for each day (for example, the Fire Information for Resource Management System, FIRMS) will allow to reveal all cases when prescribed burning launched wildfires. This, in its turn, will allow the following:


  • To put financial and juridical responsibility for the damage caused by wildfire to the state budget, people’s property and nature on the perpetrators of this wildfire, that is on the company or land owners who carried out the prescribed burning which launched the wildfire.

  • To increase the responsibility of all performers of prescribed burning and to reduce their volumes: people will try to avoid unnecessary burning because they will be afraid to start a fire and pay for the damage.


We suppose that only this simple measure (creation of an open access summary georeferenced database of all lands passed by prescribed burning) in a few years may significantly reduce the number of severe wildfires in the United States of America, Canada, Southern Europe, Australia, Russia, and other countries.


Go back to The objectives and proposals of the Campaign.


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