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FIre risk increasing

14th Jun 2023

Already the summer is looking to be a long dry and very hot period of weather. Downpours of rain from sporadic thundershowers do little to sustain a landscape's resilience in the face of a sudden wildfire.

The Times recently reported the Met Office warning on prospects ahead: "The recent warm, dry and breezy spell has contributed to the current heightened wildfire risk. Looking at the long-range outlook, there is an increase in the likelihood of hotter than normal conditions.

The County Durham Wildfire Group which was launched earlier this year has been progressing well, with most landowners in the Durham Uplands in touch, and working together with, the Fire Service in developing response plans.

Welcoming the engagement of the landowners and managers with the Fire Service in creating and maintaining wildfire plans for when an incident might occur, Dan Wootton, Divisional Manager, Emergency Response CDDFRS, notes:

"This collaboration assists both parties in creating an awareness of resources available and risks within a given area. Additional prevention messages can be found on our social media and also by accessing the Met Office's Fire Severity Index."

Sam Cole at GSC Grays, who is working with the Fire Service to support Uplands landowners to be wildfire-ready, whether large estate or individual farm, adds:

"Please remember - if you see a wildfire, please get to a place of safety and call 999 immediately. If you inform the Fire and Rescue Service as soon as you can then they can mobilise fire crews to potential wildfires, suppress the fires more quickly and reduce the damage caused."

Good advice for everyone - landowners and public should be vigilant and not delay in reporting an out of control fire.

In close to urban areas fires are more frequently started deliberately than in the uplands. Many others are the consequence of negligence or carelessness, and avoidable.

Dispose of cigarette ash or butts carefully. Bottles or discarded glass can magnify the sun's rays. Disposable BBQ trays if placed on the ground can leave the ground smoldering even after the tray has been removed - never put in a bin without assuring the coals are thoroughly extinguished, and best of all don't use them.

Any uplands landowner who wishes to know more about the Durham Wildfire Group and how to get a wildfire preparedness plan together, in the first instance contact Sam Cole by clicking on his name and sending an email.