In general, the legal regulations and institutional set-up with respect to forest fire protection in Serbia are at a satisfactory level, but there is still room for improvement.
Early warning system
The Emergency Management Sector of the Ministry of the Interior of Serbia has compiled a risk map of natural disasters in the country. Since 2008, the State Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia (RHMS) has forecast the risk of forest fires using the Canadian Fire Weather Index method. The RHMS also has a unique hydrometeorological early warning system, integrated into the National Protection and Rescue System, as well as European and global hydrometeorological systems and programmes, which provides timely and accurate information, forecasts and warnings. However, there is still a need for an early warning system for forest fires. This could be designed on the model of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) or the Macedonian Forest Fire Information System (MKFFIS). This kind of early warning system would serve as a basic tool for use by all institutions and organisations involved in forest fire protection in Serbia for planning and creating their activities and resources.
Special vehicles and equipment
Although all institutions involved in forest fire protection have certain resources in the form of special vehicles and equipment, they are not sufficient. Most of the vehicles are obsolete, and the newly procured vehicles are almost all designed for urban fires. Other forest fire suppression equipment (hand tools, water supply systems, personal protective equipment etc.) is either obsolete or lacking.
Serbia has specially trained and equipped wildfire firefighters, and the National Training Centre for Emergency Management is responsible for their training. However, they are not sufficient, taking into consideration the fact that the forestry sector (public enterprises, national parks etc.) is responsible for forest fire protection, including fire suppression. The forestry sector is obliged to organise the initial response and to participate in fire suppression. The personnel need appropriate training for forest fire suppression.
Revision and improvement of forest fire protection plansAlthough such plans exist, some are not of suitable quality. Their content is more formal than operational. The plans need to be more accurate in terms of prescribed measures and duties in accordance with the competences of the institutions. All plans must be harmonised in terms of content, quality and prescribed measures and activities.