Landscape Fire Management in the Western Balkans Programme

The Landscape Fire Management in the Western Balkans (LFMWB) is a project financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – SDC and coordinated by Farmahem from Skopje, North Macedonia with backstopping support from Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation from Switzerland. The first phase is designed to be implemented in the period from 01.02.2022 until 30.09.2026. The overall budget for this phase is CHF 3.745.680.

The overall goal of this LFMWB is to increase resilience of Western Balkan forests and landscapes against fires benefit the people who depend on these landscapes for their livelihoods and socioeconomic development. This goal is aligned with the SDC’s Framework strategic components: Climate-resilient development and Sustainable management of natural resources.

Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC),  as a regional strategic partner in the project, with a profound expertise in LFM and extensive knowledge of the WB region will offer the Programme expertise and well-established cooperation and communication channels with national stakeholders across the WB region. RFMC will play a key role in stimulating exchange between scientific community and policy makers of the WB region and elucidating science-based evidences to define LFM policy priorities of the countries. Furthermore, it will contribute to establishing fully operational national and regional networks on LFM.

Website of the Ptogramme:

European Union project – SVAROG 2017

Throughout the Union Civil Protection Mechanism funded project, Croatia, as the project coordinator and her project partners France, Montenegro and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, together with Austria as a project exercise player, will organize four workshops and a table top exercise.

The topic addressed by the project is the reception and coordination of international firefighting assistance in the event of a disastrous forest fire, as well as the application of a newly gained knowledge in tactical situation planning on the field.


The general project objective is to train operational procedures when receiving, providing and coordinating international assistance provided by aerial and ground firefighting forces.


The specific objective of the project is to make the participants familiar modern technological tools used to better manage the fighting of forest fires and to unify new tactics and strategies for a more efficient firefighting.


Firefighting Table Top Exercise – Svarog 2017 is co-financed within the framework of the European Commission financial instrument Union Civil Protection Mechanism, Call for Proposals – Union Civil Protection Mechanism Exercises


DURATION: 12 MONTHS (01.02.2017 – 31.01.2018)

Partners & Participants












Regional Workshop

Landscape Fire Management in South Eastern Europe

Skopje, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

17-19 December 2018

Title of the project: “Enhancing of the ground and aerial forest fire suppression capacities in the Republic of Macedonia”

Project duration: June-December 2016  

Holders of the project:

- The US Forest Service (USFS), International Programs (IP)

- Regional Fire Monitoring Centre (RFMC), Skopje, Macedonia 

Rationale of the project:

One of the most detrimental factors for the forest and nature in the Republic of Macedonia are the forest fires. According to the data of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy (MAFWE), in the period between 1999 to 2013, total number of forest fires in Macedonia is 2791, total burned area is estimated to 128 181 ha and total burned timber mass is 1 687 620 m3 (Table 1). The most severe year in this period is 2007 with 652 fires and 35,248 ha burned area recorded. However, the year 2012 is recognized as the severe year, as well.

Before the 2010 year for forest fire suppression Macedonia, besides the ground forces, has engaged their own helicopters (from the army and police forces) and airplanes from foreign countries (as international assistance). After all of these severe forest fire seasons in the Republic of Macedonia (2007 especially) the need of fixed-wing airplanes for fire suppression was recognized to complement the helicopter resources. By end of 2009 and early of 2010 three aircraft АТ-802А Fire Boss were procured. During the fire seasons 2010 and 2011 around 768 aerial firefighting missions delivered around 2.000 t of water. It was evident that the inclusion of these firefighting aircraft in the Macedonian system for forest fire suppression, the capacity and efficiency of the system was improved. On the other hand, some problems and negative effects were detected as well. The costs for fire suppression increased, expectations of the utility and effectiveness of aircraft missions were too high and less ground forces than needed had been engaged. One of the reasons for this is that there is no training of the aerial and ground forces for coordinated action, and there are no well-defined strategy and procedures for the role and using of the airplanes. The main ground forces for forest fire suppression are the forces of the PE Macedonian forests (PEMF) which (according the current legislation) are responsible for initial attack and has responsibility (with all available resources) to suppress fire together with other institutions to its final extinguishing. Besides, in the frame of the collaboration between the countries of the region Macedonia many times has received aerial assistance for forest fire suppression.

The Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC) has been organizer or co-organizer of numerous national and international trainings for forest fire suppression, for foresters and other staff (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, South Korea and Turkey) and part of the experiences has been conveyed in Macedonia, as well.

Besides, the RFMC many times has raised the issue of the preparedness of the Macedonian ground forces (especially of the forestry service) and aerial forces to acts together efficiently (Aerial firefighting conference: Athens,Greece 2008; Aix-en-Provence, France 2013 and Zadar, Croatia 2015). Also, RFMC has been part of the working meetings of the International Fire Aviation Working Group (IFAWG). The IFAWG operates as an advisory group of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and comprise people who lead and manage the use of aircraft for wildland fire management around the world.

The main goals and objectives of the project are:
- to increase preparedness of the forestry service in Macedonia for forest fire suppression,
- to increase preparedness of the aerial forces in Macedonia for forest fire suppression in combination with ground forces,
- to increase efficiency of fire suppression,
- to increase safety during forest fire suppression,
- to increase capabilities for sharing of capacities (ground forces and aerial means) at the regional level.

The role of the USFS is to convey knowledge and experiences from US for using ground forces for forest fire suppression in combination (support) with aerial means. The main accent will be given of the techniques and tactics for fire suppression (including procedures), safety and efficiency.

Taking into consideration all of this, other international experiences (RFMC) and experiences of the USFS a Seminar will be organized. The participants of the Seminar will be: staff of the Public enterprise Macedonian forests, Ministry of agriculture, forestry and water economy, National parks, Fire protection union of Macedonia, Professional fire fighters, Directorate for protection and rescue, Army of Republic of Macedonia, GFMC and participants from Serbia. Three persons from Serbia will be invited to participate on the workshop: two from the Serbian forestry service and one from the Serbian aerial forces for forest fire suppression. On that way will be ensured dissemination of the knowledge at the regional level and increment of the capabilities for regional sharing of the resources.

Title of the project: “Environment and Security Initiative: Addressing the risk of forest fires in the SEE”

Project duration: 2014-2015 

Holders of the project:

- The Regional Environmental center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC)

- Regional Fire Monitoring Centre (RFMC), Skopje, Macedonia

Global objective:

Within the Project “Environment and Security Initiative: Addressing the risk of forest fires in the SEE”, financed by ADA, an assessment, conclusions and recommendations are made related to the current forest and risk management regimes in the SEE countries. Attention is paid to the occurrence and risks of forest fires and their addressing as well as the evaluation of institutional structures and coordination mechanisms, policy formation and the implementation of policies, resources and incentives, enforcement. The result will be to identify risks related to vegetation fires together with concrete actions to be taken by key responsible actors to close the law, policy, implementation and enforcement gaps.

In agreement with the above, the Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC) will prepare six country studies for: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The six country assessments will cover the scope and extent of forest fire occurrence and their addressing in the countries together with the institutional aspects, based on the findings of the questionnaire based research- carried out by the RFMC- with a view to formulate recommendations.

The regional report based on the six country assessments (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) will be prepared as well, covering the scope and extent of forest fire occurrence and their addressing in the region together with the institutional aspects - with a view to formulate recommendations.

At the end, the closing workshop will be organized, where the main findings of the Regional report will be presented and discussed, with a view to endorse an Action Plan/ Roadmap for the region..

Country studies

Regional report

Title of the project: Development of Guidelines for the Defense of Rural Populations, Settlements and other Assets Against Wildfires and Smoke Pollution

Funded by the Council of Europe and the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA).

Project duration: 2012-2013

Holders of the project:

- European Centre on Forest Fires (ECFF), Athens, Greece; Coordinatinf centre

- Global Fire Monitoring Centre (GFMC), Frieburg, Germany; Partner

- Regional Fire Monitoring Centre (RFMC), Skopje, Macedonia; Partner

Global objective:

Collaborative work between the 3 Centers will result in the development and first publication (ENG) of "Guidelines for Defense of Rural Populations, Settlements and other Assets Against Wildfires". This project will address the wildfire threats of rural settlements (villages, towns, scattered farmsteads) and other rural assets (agricultural fields / crops, infrastructures and other values at risk), which in some regions of Europe / Mediterranean are increasingly endangered by wildfires due to rural exodus, weakening of rural work force and self-protection ability, and increasing wildfire hazard on abandoned lands. Vice-versa, increasing industrialization and concentration of populations in some areas exert a high pressure on natural resources for land use change, which is reflected by the high frequency of arson and ‘unknown’-cause fires in the wildlands. The intermix of human settlements with natural ecosystems in many places create severe wildland / urban interface fire problems, which have become a major issue of political debate and confrontation. The Guidelines will be designed to provide information to local inhabitants (incl. farmers, community leaders / mayors, local fire service units, volunteer firefighters and village defense committees) with state-of-the-art information on wildfire damage prevention measures, and defense of wildfires threatening settlements and rural assets. Furthermore, the guidelines will provide information to the residents how to apply all fire safety regulations for their house (clearing vegetation, provide extra sources of water, use appropriate building materials, etc.) and to protect the communities against the adverse effects of vegetation fire smoke pollution on human health and security. Also, the issue of unexploded ordnance (UXO) will be addressed since many forest sites and non-forest lands in SE Europe and the Balkan region are contaminated by land mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) stemming from recent conflicts. The relevance of the expected outcomes will be high for all CIS member states.