Using the Incident Recording System (IRS) to define wildfire in GB

Sam Grundy, Julia Mcmorrow

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


The Scottish Wildfire Operational Guidance (2013, p10) defines wildfire as ‘any uncontrolled vegetation fire which requires a decision or action regarding suppression’. Professional judgment is used to distinguish between minor vegetation fires and wildfire events. However, a consistent definition is needed for recording purposes, so wildfire events are also defined as vegetation fires meeting any one of five criteria. Three of these use Incident Recording System (IRS) data: geographical area  1 hectare; committed resource of  4 Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) appliances; resources committed for  6 hours. Such IRS-based criteria could provide a consistent GB-wide spatial evidence base on wildfire. The CFOA Wildfire Group have proposed IRS-based criteria to further sub-divide wildfire into five categories. This research therefore applied the IRS-based criteria and proposed categories to four financial years of IRS data (2009/10–2012/13) for England, Wales and Scotland. GIS software was used to map how the geography of wildfires changes between categories. With some exceptions, annual average number of category 1 (most minor fires) is highest in metropolitan areas, but shifts to more rural areas at category 5. The maps and graphs are intended to encourage discussion on how to refine the criteria and categories.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2015
EventWildfires 2015 - Cambuslang, Glasgow
Duration: 10 Nov 201511 Nov 2015


ConferenceWildfires 2015
CityCambuslang, Glasgow


  • wildfire definition
  • vegetation fire
  • fire statistics
  • GIS
  • risk management
  • Incident Recording System (IRS)
  • mapping
  • fire size
  • fire resources
  • FRS resources
  • Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA)


Dive into the research topics of 'Using the Incident Recording System (IRS) to define wildfire in GB'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this