Awarded for his work on the humanitarian and environmental impacts of wildfires.

Category: Preparedness

Nikola Nikolov, of Macedonia, is a Full Professor on the Faculty of Forestry in Skopje where he also founded and is leading the Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC). He is an expert in the field of forest protection especially forest fire protection. During his almost 25 years domestic and international activity he had an opportunity to experience and analyze local and regional specifics in terms of forest fires. He realized that one of the precondition to solve some of the forest fire related problems and thus to save the natural environment is to improve the preparedness locally (in the countries) and regionally.

After several fire assessment missions in the Caucasus region and some Balkan countries he recognized a severe problem for fire management in terrains contaminated with land mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) throughout the regions. In cooperation with the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), the partners in Ukraine and in the frame of the activities of the Regional Southeast Europe/Caucasus Wildland Fire Network (which he is coordinating), he organized a regional meeting in Skopje (2008) and an Advanced Seminar “Wildfires and Human Security Fire Management on Terrain Contaminated by Radioactivity, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Land Mines in Kyiv” (2009).

The fire season 2007 was one of the most severe seasons he experienced in the Balkan region, in terms of area devastated by wildfires and in terms of fatalities as well. Most of the victims were civilians. In order to increase the preparedness of the local population (in the rural regions especially) he cooperates with GFMC, the Ukraine-based Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center and partners from Greece in the preparation on “Guidelines for Rural Populations, Local Community and Municipality Leaders in the Balkan Region for the Defense of Human and Rural Assets Against Wildfires.” The overall aim of this work is to encourage civil society to take responsibility in wildfire prevention and preparedness.