Wildfire in the United Kingdom: status and key issues

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Abstract

The paper draws on issues from the Fire and Ecosystem Services (FIRES) seminars series – fire climate change in UK moorland and heaths. A brief geography of UK wildfires is presented using fire statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) and the MODIS active fire database. Wildfires challenge resource resilience of Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs), especially in dry years, yet FRSs are poorly equipped and trained to deal with wildfire. This is being addressed by partnership working in local fire groups and two national wildfire forums. Awareness of UK wildfires is reviewed using Community Risk Registers and CLG reports. Awareness is low due to poor reporting, the sporadic frequency of severe wildfires, no loss of life and a narrow definition of property which does not adequately consider environmental assets. The link between wildfire likelihood and wildfire impact is poorly appreciated, both in terms of biophysical hazard and FRS preparedness. The disconnect between government policy on habitat management in moorlands and wildfire risk management is also discussed. Moorland managers fear that nature conservation restrictions, especially on prescribed burning, are increasing fuel load and the risk of severe wildfire. The multiple land use situation requires wildfire-aware management of ecosystem services and ecosystem service-aware management of wildfire.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings Second International Association of Wildland Fire Conference on Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire
EditorsSarah McCaffrey, Cherie LeBlanc Fisher
Place of PublicationBirmingham, AL, USA
PublisherInternational Association of Wildland Fire
Pages44-56
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
EventSecond International Association of Wildland Fire Conference on Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire - San Antonio, Texas
Duration: 27 Apr 201029 Apr 2010
http://treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/38507http://www.iawfonline.org/proceedings.ph

Conference

ConferenceSecond International Association of Wildland Fire Conference on Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire
CitySan Antonio, Texas
Period27/04/1029/04/10
Internet address

Keywords

  • Wildfire
  • Policy
  • Ecosystem services
  • Fire statistics
  • UK
  • moorland

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