Fire is the most significant natural threat to forests and wooded areas of the Mediterranean basin. The average annual number of forest fires in the Mediterranean basin, particularly in southern Europe, is close to 50,000 - twice as many as during the 1970s. The natural plant ecosystem of the Mediterranean basin is rich in shrubs and coniferous forests and, thus, particularly susceptible to fire. Meanwhile, summer periods are now warmer, drier and longer and projected changes in the climate suggest increases in the frequency and severity of forest fires. A disaster risk arises when a hazard meets vulnerability. A key factor increasing vulnerability is the inadequacy of disaster-management planning. Recent forest fire catastrophes have revealed serious gaps in co-ordination, chain of command problems, and inadequate resource management and allocation. Often, information was not updated or was inadequate, leading to inefficient decision making.