The team of the LIFE integrated project “Naturalit” participated in international practical training on forest fire suppression organized by the Independent Firefighters Association of Poland from May 26th to 28th. These training sessions provided an excellent opportunity for acquiring knowledge and gaining experience from foreign colleagues to prepare for the planned controlled forest litter burning activities in Dzūkija National Park.
The team of 8 individuals from Lithuania went to the training. It consisted of representatives from Dzūkija National Park and Čepkeliai State Nature Reserve Directorate, State Forest Service, Fire and Rescue Department, Varėna Fire and Rescue Service, Varėna District Municipality Fire Protection Service, and Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy.
Approximately 100 participants from nearly 20 countries gathered for the training. The participants were divided into 7 international groups to share their countries’ experiences effectively. Instructors from the United States, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and other countries prepared various tasks, including:
- How a forest firefighting team should behave when approaching a fire;
- How to read a topographic map and navigate in the forest using forest block marking columns to determine cardinal directions;
- How to use fire extinguishers;
- How to use a model for planning, predicting, and visualizing fires;
- The use of smart technology (drones, communication devices, etc.);
- Specifics of operational and coordination center activities;
- How to use fire protection equipment.
There were also physically demanding practical tasks that participants completed, covering a distance of 30 km per day while carrying all the necessary equipment. This part of the training focused on developing skills such as:
- Using forest firefighting tools;
- Safe withdrawal techniques;
- Working with a water pump to extract water from a reservoir, using fire hoses, fire trucks equipped with water tanks, and other equipment;
- Assessing flame parameters, movement speed, and direction;
- Stopping fire spread;
- Installing and using communication devices for fire tower protection.
The participants also familiarized themselves with the firefighting equipment used by fire brigades, its applications in different situations, and simulated aircraft-assisted firefighting.
The training provided valuable insights for planning future-controlled forest litter burning activities in Dzūkija National Park, allowing participants to try various situations and equipment related to the implementation of these activities.