Within a few short months of signing a memorandum of understanding with US partners, the Chief Fire Officers Association of the United Kingdom is helping guide outreach and projects to prepare residents for wildfire.
According to Alan Clark, Area Commander with the Surrey Fire & Rescue Service, with support, advice and information from partners including NFPA and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, his department in the south of England has decided to approach the semi-rural village of Thursley with a plan to become a Firewise Community. Thursley suffered an unprecedented and devastating wildfire in 2006 that lasted 5 days, impacted some 450 acres (180 hectares) of woodland habitat, and required massive deployment of firefighters and equipment to bring it under control.
Meetings with community members have been very positive according to Clark, with upcoming meetings with the community council planned in order to cement their approval and buy-in to wildfire safety action at the local level. About the photo above of a recent meeting, he writes, "...please look carefully above the doors on the left – you can see some of the signage we are hoping to use in the village as we roll this out!"
Later this week, Clark and other project leaders will be travelling to the Peak District to be guest speakers at the MoorLIFE launch of their new project “Be Fire Aware” & Wildfire Awareness day, an exciting new prevention/education initiative (http://www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk/be-fire-aware). We'll keep our Fire Break readers posted as these community-based projects get underway.