Preparing landowners and farmers for wildfire risk

Farmers and landowners are better prepared to deal with the risk of wildfire incidents after a session hosted by Northumberland Fire Group.

Tuesday, 8th November 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:50 pm
The wildfire session, organised by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service on behalf of Northumberland Fire Group.

Organised by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) on behalf of Northumberland Fire Group (NFG), it offered advice to farmers, land managers, landowners and gamekeepers about keeping land and businesses safe from wildfires.

Speakers from NFRS, Northumbrian Water, Northern Powergrid, the Forestry Commission, Natural England, Northumberland National Park and Northumberland County Council provided information on how to plan for wildfires and the impacts and dangers of wildfires and prescribed burning.

Paul Hedley, NFRS chief fire officer, said: “In rural areas like Northumberland, wildfires are a potential risk and they can have devastating effects.

“Events like these are vital to reduce the risk of wildfires, but also to better prepare landowners and businesses for potential incidents and reduce the impact these may have on local communities, businesses and the natural environment.”

The event was held at Elsdon Village Hall and included a number of short talks and live demonstrations.

College Valley and Lilburn Estates also presented vehicles and equipment which have been modified to work more effectively for burning and firefighting in the Northumberland countryside.

The session ended on East Todholes Farm, near Harwood Forest, with live demonstrations of a range of equipment that can be used to cut grass, heather and other vegetation to reduce the chance of wildfire spread and to ensure effective controlled burning.

Andrew Miller, head of programmes and conservation at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “No one knows their land better than the farmers, shepherds and gamekeepers who manage it every day and by combining their experience with developing good practice from across the country through the work of other partners agencies, we hope to prevent serious incidents from occurring in the future.”

Angus Collingwood Cameron, chairman of the NFG, added: “I was delighted to see so many people at the event.”