Fire management in Ethiopia: past, present, and future

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Human pressure and intensified drought have seen Ethiopia recurrently affected by severe wildfire emergencies since 2019. This article reviews the history, causes and impacts of wildfires in Ethiopia, identifies gaps, and discusses plans for improving fire management using an integrated approach at national, subnational and community levels. Not having a national wildfire management strategy undermines Ethiopia’s capacity for forecasting, preventing and suppressing wildfire, and fire management must be an integral part of land-use management policies and practices. These must consider cultural values, socioeconomic realities and ecological differences where fires occur, including rangelands, dry forests and woodlands, and requires multi-level governance and devolution of responsibility and increased support for local decision-making.

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