We covered the topic of seasonal risk from Wildfires in the April Bulletin. At the end of the article we gave some points to remember, as shown below:
- Ensure your Forest Fire plans are up to date.
- Subscribe to Wildfire Risk Alert services, such as provided through Confor.
- Check you have a grab bag ready to go if called upon to help manage a fire. It should contain items to sustain you if you are on site assisting the emergency services,
e.g. power bank for phone/tablet, food and water.
- Don’t forget a Helicopter authorisation form in case it is required (GN/51).
When considering the adequacy of your fire plans it is important to carefully consider the risk from external factors such as public access. Is the forest regularly accessed by members of the public?
Perhaps visitors are welcomed into a visitor centre, is close to local populations or has a well used path running through it.
Fires started either accidentally or on purpose by the public are becoming more common. A recent fire on site affecting an area of new planting was believed to have been started deliberately. With school holidays soon upon us the risk of fire increases, either deliberately or by misadventure. Consider these risk when making plans.
While the information in the fire plans can help minimise the effects of a fire, there are actions that we can take to help reduce the risk. These include maintenance of the machinery being used on site. We have had fires on sites in the past that have originated from the machinery. Often, these start in the engine bay of a machine where oil has leaked into dry brash that has built up in the belly pan. The mix has then caught fire either from overheating, or from electrical faults. Proper maintenace and regularly clearing out of trapped brash can significantly reduce the chance of a fire which can result in the loss of a machine and the surrounding crop.