Damage to Moorland following the large wildfire at Stalybridge (Saddleworth) Moor in summer 2018 copyright Claire M. Belcher

Wildfires really do happen in the UK On average there are:

o 32,000 vegetation fires (wildfires) in the UK per yr o Wildfires burned 37,000 hectares
o Wildfires lasted 300,000 hours
o Response costs of £55 million a year

Data: forestry commission for time period 2010-2018.

The UK has a relatively unique set of ecosystems, that are partially created by land management practices and sit amongst a rural-urban interface that present challenges both to FRS and scientists in their prediction of fire behaviour, fire fighter safety and the impact of fire on ecosystems. Both FRS and scientists are interested in improving our knowledge of how fire behaviour varies in UK wildfires so that we can work with land managers to best prepare for and manage wildfires with both safety and ecosystem resilience in mind.

One of the most frustrating things for scientists is their lack of ability to react rapidly to wildfires occurring in the UK; it is not always possible for them to reach the location of a significant wildfire or indeed be allowed access to a burning area for safety reasons. This limits their ability to gather information from wildfires, such as observations of flame height, rate of spread and heat variations across the burned area. This is in contrast to fire and rescue services that have first-hand experience and access at the time of the fire. This leaves the field with disjointed information making it hard for both parties to work together to improve wildfire management, fire threats, firefighter safety and protect communities and the natural landscapes in the face of future climate challenges.

Management burn – Arne Peninsula, Dorset UK. Featured Claire Belcher
copyright N. Walding

Join US ! We are looking for ~6 partners from the FRS that attend wildfires and/or land managers that undertake management fires or prescribed burning

The wildFIRE Lab whom includes the UK wildland Fire Tactical Advisor Andy Elliott are hoping to interface with FRS to co-design and develop small monitoring equipment that can be deployed by FRS into wildfires and worn by fire fighters to monitor the heat they are subjected to, in order to gain an array of information about the behaviour of wildfires and their effects.

We have a set of prototype simple to deploy equipment that we have ready for willing volunteer crews!

We are looking for 6 crews from across the UK to work with us, ideally in regions with significant wildfires but no experience is required. Additionally, any crews that may be involved in management burns would also be most welcome. Please contact either Claire Belcher c.belcher[at]exeter.ac.uk or Andy Elliott andy[at]wildfiretac.com

Sponsored by:

Additionally we will be at The Emergency Services Show Stand U32 Hall 5 at Birmingham NEC September 18-19th 2019 and the England And Wales Wildfire Forum Wildfire Conference in Cardiff, Nov 20-21st 2019

We will have prototype equipment for you to look at and explore