Wildfire in Corsica

While spending time in Corsica it is easy to recognize the similarities between its wildfire hazards and those in California. It's no wonder our climate in the Golden State is Mediterranean.  The Maquis of Corsica is very similar to California's chaparral shrub ecosystem and presents a dangerous fuel type in the right conditions. 

  THE BEAUTIFUL SCENERY ABOVE THE VILLAGE OF FRANCARDU, CORSICA. STEEP SLOPES COVERED IN MAQUIS SHRUB ACCENTED BY LIMESTONE CLIFFS. ©fireweatherlab.

THE BEAUTIFUL SCENERY ABOVE THE VILLAGE OF FRANCARDU, CORSICA. STEEP SLOPES COVERED IN MAQUIS SHRUB ACCENTED BY LIMESTONE CLIFFS. ©fireweatherlab.

Corsica is a beautiful place where alpine peaks meet the Mediterranean Sea in a very short distance. The landscape is characterized by very steep canyons where eruptive fire behavior can have devastating consequences.   

 Bastia, Corsica where the mountains meet the sea. ©fireweatherlab

Bastia, Corsica where the mountains meet the sea. ©fireweatherlab

 Maquis shrub meets the sea, Corsica @fireweatherlab

Maquis shrub meets the sea, Corsica @fireweatherlab

 

Extreme Fire Behavior

Extreme fire behavior is often associated with explosive nature and rapid fire spread in steep canyons. The Palasca Fire occurred in a steep canyon near Corsica's coast. The fire exhibited very extreme and explosive fire behavior and overran firefighters with a devastating outcome-two firefighters lost their lives battling the fire. 

 Monument to firefighters who lost thier lives battling the Palasca Fire, 17 Sept. 2000. The monument is placed at the head of the canyon just above the beach. ©fireweatherlab

Monument to firefighters who lost thier lives battling the Palasca Fire, 17 Sept. 2000. The monument is placed at the head of the canyon just above the beach. ©fireweatherlab

 A view down the canyon where the palasca fire occurred on 17 Sept. 2000, Corsica. 

A view down the canyon where the palasca fire occurred on 17 Sept. 2000, Corsica. 

The University of Corsica has one of Europe's leading wildfire research teams. The university is located in the village of Corte where the Tavignano and Restonica rivers meet.  It is a spectacular setting and wonderful place to visit.  I was fortunate to be able to spend some time here and work with the wildfire research team. 

 View of village center from the university of Corsica. @fireweatherlab

View of village center from the university of Corsica. @fireweatherlab