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Wildfire Conference 2007

A Quantock Hills Perspective
Working with Fire ..Safety First!

Tim Russell – Senior Ranger AONB
Andy Harris
Tim Russell – Senior Ranger–Ranger AONB
AndrewHills
Quantock Davis – Recreation Ranger AONB/FC
AONB
An Ancient Tool – that demands respect
A Planned & Professional Approach to Working with Fire
Steps before starting a burn:

• Thorough Risk Assessment & checking of burn site
• Assessment & recording of environmental and weather
conditions
• ‘Run through’ of the agreed burn and H&S to team
• Inform landowners & Fire Service
Properly Trained Staff & Volunteers
and the right equipment
Personal Equipment

• Full-face visor & helmet
• Fire proof overalls
• Leather gloves & boots
• 2-way Radio & whistle
Don’t panic, stay calm..

• Observe behaviour of the fire & wind
• Know where the next breaks, tracks are
• Keep in radio contact with rest of team
• Make sure ‘Buddy System’ is intact
Be prepared to ‘fight fire with fire’

• Fire breaks can be burnt beyond fire front
• These are in effect similar to ‘back burns’
• Fire will not cross an already burnt patch
Assessing a Burn in Progress

• Fire proof high visibility jacket
• Two-Way Radios
Water … a vital element

• Allows confidence
• Maintaining control with ‘back burns’
• Puts out fires that ‘get away’
• Ensures a fire is fully out at the end of a burn
Water lance & bowser

• Bowser & Pump towed behind 4WD
• Allowing access to fire front
• And therefore control
• Don’t know how we managed without it!
Water Bowser & Pump

• Purchased for Commons
Management
• Environmental Stewardship Scheme
• Now an essential piece of kit
Ability to get around site where needed

• ATV with water carriers
• Can also carry beaters, burners, First Aid kit, etc
• Also quick response to team needs… food & drink!
Regular monitoring of Fire & Team

• Observing behaviour of fire
• Reporting back to those at fire site via radio
Once you’re sure it’s all out …

• Inform Fire Service & landowner
• Check condition of equipment & supplies
• Follow up with GIS mapping of burn for records
Training others ..

• New
Staff/Volunteers
• Use of Equipment
& PPE
• Risk Assessments
and H & S
procedures
• Fire behaviour
Working with others …

• Joint Training Sessions
• Improved methods & equipment
• Sharing knowledge (e.g. Ranger & Fire Services)
• Fire Management Plans
Unplanned Fires .. sharing knowledge & skills

• Summer fires outside the Swaling season
Fire Severity Index monitoring & pre-
burn environmental recording

• Measuring environmental factors such as:
• Wind speed & direction
• Vegetation & Soil moisture content
• Ground & Air temperature
• Info to Natural England for FSI predictions
Fire Management Plans & Policies
.. which ever part of the world
Climate change – a real issue to consider