Fire management

National Fire Management Program
The first efforts undertaken by the country in the control of forest fires, date back to 1978 in the Santa Rosa National Park, with the support of Peace Corps volunteers, where every year are carried out actions for the prevention and control of forest fires; in the eighties it strengthens the efforts in the Palo Verde National Park, Chirripo and Biological Reserves of Carara and Lomas de Barbudal and, the latter National Park today.
Similarly, the efforts executed at the beginning of the 80s by the General Directorate of Forestry (DGF) which processes conducted national training and staff training , are recognized internationally; It was one of the achievements that were required to reforestation projects establishing preventive measures to mitigate the possible presence of forest fire within them.
Subsequently, through the development of training processes and generation of experience, protection mechanisms in Protected Areas are stablished, achieving a significant reduction of the areas affected by forest fires in recent years, especially in those sites located at sectors that are cataloged as medium to high incidence of fire occurrence.
In our country actions such as hunting, forest fires, encroachment, illegal logging and resource extraction in general, are part of the main problems faced in the Protected Areas and forest resources nationwide.
Forest fires are one of the main problems facing the National System of Conservation Areas at the national level, during the dry season, same that are produced by inadvertently or premeditated human activities, which is often the result of a problem of social inequality, lack of land tenure, lack of forest culture and culture of fire, information and knowledge transmission, misguided or lack government policies thereof, as well as environmental projects and proposals outside the national socioeconomic context reality.
What is a forest fire? (Definition for Costa Rica)
It is a fire that uncontrollably spreads in any ecosystem, caused by human action or caused by nature, causing serious ecological, climatic, economic and social damage.
Forest fires cause serious damage, and have effects on:
- The soil
- In human health
- In quality and availability of water
- In the vegetation
- Social effects
- Economic effects
- Contributes to global warming
National Fire Management Strategy
Costa Rica has based its work on Fire Management since 1997, through a formal country guideline called National Strategy for Fire Management, which is what dictates the guideline, for planning, monitoring and evaluation of various activities carried out at national level in this area; this Strategy is formalized through an Executive Decree of State.
The current 2006-1010 National Strategy has as a strategic framework the following:
It is a leading national program, established and organized as a system that promotes actions aimed at fire management, in order to conserve biodiversity through ongoing management of government institutions, NGOs and society, helping to improve the quality of life for present and future generations.
Contribute to the protection of biodiversity by strengthening the policy, strategies, plans, programs and projects for fire management in a planned, coordinated and organized way, at the local, regional, national and international levels, with shared responsibilities of the sectors form social and institutional.
General Objective
Minimize the impact of fire by building a national operational structure to facilitate and manage the implementation of the National Fire Management Plan, in order to contribute to the conservation of biological diversity.
Specific Objectives
- Contribute to the establishment and implementation of interagency fire management programs.
- Establish mechanisms for national, regional and local coordination that contribute to clarify the role and the guidelines to be developed by the institutions, organizations and society.
- Engaging society in decision-making and implementation of actions defined for fire management.
Thematic Areas
Institutional Management Area
Whether it would be by direct or indirect legal mandate or institutional mission and / or social it corresponds to government institutions, NGOs and society, the momentum and organization of the program, so that efforts are not lost or repeated. The coordinating institutions manage action efforts in one direction, establishing priorities and facilitating the operations.
Facilitate the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of annual work plans for the fire management program at different levels.
Establishing and consolidating an organizational structure at national and regional level that can respond effectively and efficiently to the needs and responsibilities of National Fire Management Program.

Strengthen coordination and cooperation between municipal government institutions, NGOs and private companies and local governments to facilitate the management of National Fire Management Program.
Establish and strengthen mechanisms for monitoring of national and regional actions of National Fire Management Program, implementing appropriate indicators for meeting the objectives.

Manage the coordination mechanisms for the establishment of cooperation agreements in the international  arena.
Incorporate into the national plan commitments in the Central Fire Management Strategy, conventions and agreements signed by the country.
Promote the implementation of financial, administrative and technical mechanisms and agreements with institutions and organizations at all levels, to strengthen the program.
Legal Framework

Promote the creation and implementation of an integrated legal framework in line with the skills and institutional responsibilities for fire management.
Promote the development of national and institutional fire management policy that allows it to be incorporated in the national agenda.
Promote the development and formalization of national protocols and institutional procedures for fire management actions.
Social Management Area
It consider those components aimed at the population and the institutional sector through timely environmental education, using effective communication, dissemination, training methods, strengthening management capacity.
Promote and strengthen the issue of fire management programs of formal education from kindergarten to university.
Establishing and strengthening fire management issue in informal education programs at the regional and national levels.
Strengthen the design and implementation of a national plan for training and education on fire management.
Promote the development of a communication strategy aimed at bringing about change in attitudes and behaviors of different social actors in relation to fire management.
Promote community involvement in fire prevention and management, seeking sustainable rural development.
Research and technological application area
Strengthen decision-making based on knowledge, technical and technological improvement in fire management.
Manage the development of databases and information available on the subject of fire management, to support the knowledge generated and decision making, as an integrated ecosystem conservation tool.
Establish and standardize the tools for collecting quantitative and qualitative information.
Strengthening technical-scientific Fire Management Research.
Promote social research on fire management.
Strengthen research for the rehabilitation and recovery of habitat.

Establish an integrated system for fire management monitoring.
Incorporate the use of technology to promote research and development.
Operational Area
It is the area of mitigation, monitoring, detection, and control of forest fires, run by the institutions and social sectors. This area requires motivated and trained personnel, with ongoing training, equipped and with an adequate logistical support to enable it to act safely, efficiently and effectively.
It concentrates all actions to reduce risk of fires and their impacts, such as engineering, fuel handling and controlled burns.
Develop early warning systems at local, regional and national levels to enable timely detection of forest fires and minimize their impact.
They are the held actions in the inspection and clearance of forest fire emergencies under the standardized guidelines and protocols.
They are held actions in mitigation processes, detection and control of forest fires, in order to generate information that facilitates research, analysis and planning for continuous improvement of the National Fire Management Program.

National Action Plan on 2006-2010Fire Management

As the purpose of supplementing the National Fire Management Strategy, it is defined a National Action Plan developed by each of the strategic areas containing the shares, the expected product performance indicators and the work schedule to be met at the end of the compliance period of the Strategy.
Forest Fire Brigades
Wildland firefighter’s volunteers represent a major force in the prevention and control of forest fires in Costa Rica, since its creation in 1991, which are located throughout the country mainly concentrated in the province of Guanacaste.
As a need to strengthen the responsiveness fire that appeared in Biological Reserve Lomas Barbudal and the Palo Verde National Park, the first volunteer brigade in Bagaces Guanacaste province was originated in April 1991, which was composed of committed and determined young people  to fight for the conservation of the resources of the county, as well as to support other wilderness areas of the province
This initiative was quickly extended to Barra Honda and Diría Forest in Nicoya and Santa Cruz respectively, and to private initiatives that were incorporated into the forest regime, which forced them to act to against forest fires.
Initially, the Brigades were established under the existing community organization, the incidence of fire and the value of the resource being affected. For that reason the answer spreads rapidly to public and private wilderness areas, reforestation, biological corridors, aquifer recharge areas and other areas of communal or municipal interest.
It is important to note that the figure of the wildland volunteer firefighter has been the mainstay for the participation of civil society in the protection and conservation of natural resources, which support during the dry season from January to June of each year.
These forest fire brigades contribute with time and volunteer work, for fire control; whenever there is an event the manager or coordinator of each Fire Management Conservation Area, calls for support to the leaders of the brigades, and coordinates logistics (food, transportation, housing, tools, etc.) to control these fires casualties.
Toño Pizote: Costa Rican Fire Management Program Mascot
Toño Pizote is the official mascot for the prevention and control of forest fires in Costa Rica; character by means of which it is made a call for the general public on the need to be thoughtful and careful with the use of fire.

The Pizote is an animal well known both from the highlands of Talamanca and in the Costa Rican coastal, and was chosen as the mascot since the Pizotes make lots of noise through shrieks when fires or other hazard in the forest, with which warn the other animals. In addition pizotes are arboreal and terrestrial habits and disperse seeds through the woods by their excrements, so they are considered a natural reforester which has a broad geographic coverage, as they have been seen since highlands and in the National Park Chirripo (3900 msnm) to the coastal lands and the coast and in the Santa Rosa National Park.
"Toño Pizote" is not only the mascot of the prevention and control of forest fires in Costa Rica, but it is the protector of forests and the friend of all people, plants and animals such as the jaguar and the quetzal, inhabitants of Costa Rican forests and mountains.
Toño Pizote makes us a permanent call to protect the land, forests, watersheds, National Parks and wildlife in general.
Forest Fire Statistics
The National Fire Management Program maintains a daily monitoring of the incidence of fires and wildfires over the country, so every day are recorded affected areas by this type of incident Conservation Area, both inside and outside the Protected Areas.