Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is urging land managers, tourists and communities to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and help reduce the number of wildfires.
Last year Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended a large number of wildfire incidents across Scotland, which were successfully dealt with by thanks to a committed and sustained effort by firefighters. We are now entering that time of year when the risk of wildfire is at its highest and SFRS is keen to work with land managers, tourists and communities to help reduce the number fires in a bid to protect the countryside and its residents.
The demand on SFRS resources during wildfire season is significant and it is hoped that raised awareness will help reduce that demand.
There are a number of things land managers can do to help prevent wildfires, including strict adherence to the Muirburn Code, which applies to the controlled burning of heather within the permitted season.
The fire service has historically worked with land managers to provide advice around their fire plans in an attempt to reduce the number of wildfires and that work will continue.
Many wildland fires are started deliberately or are due to careless, reckless or irresponsible behaviour. If you see someone acting suspiciously, recklessly or irresponsibly in the countryside contact Police Scotland on 101 or pass information anonymously to Scotland Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum and Assistant Chief Officer for SFRS, Robert Scott, said
We are approaching what has traditionally been known as the wildfire season and we are looking to raise awareness and reduce the number of wildfire incidents across the country. Information and advice is readily available about preventing countryside fires, such as the Muirburn Code and Countryside Code. We want people to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and we are urging communities, tourists and visitors to be aware of the heightened risk of wildfire at this time of year.
SFRS want people to act responsibly in a countryside environment, such as properly disposing of smoking materials to prevent these fires happening in the first place. And land managers are asked not to burn out with the permitted season and ensure suitable ‘fire plans’ are in place during land management operations.
As chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum, ACO Scott was responsible for the creation of the UK’s first Wildfire Operational Guidance manual, which he launched in Cardiff last October. The manual was commissioned by the Scottish Government.
The manual establishes a solid platform for Fire and Rescue Services, partner agencies, public and private partners to implement a sector wide process for dealing with wildfire incidents. When wildfires occur they impact greatly on many rural and remote areas of Scotland and the UK and can cause substantial environmental and economic damage. This impact ranges from damage to farmland and wildlife, as well as protected woodland and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) to buildings, property and the lives of those who live in rural communities.
This manual is supported by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and all key partners who form the Scottish Wildfire Forum as well as partner agencies in England and Wales.
You can download a copy of the Muirburn Code from the SFRS website or the Countryside Code from Scottish Natural Heritage.