Firewise and the simple value of recognizing local risk-reduction accomplishments were shared this past November at the UK Wildfires2017 conference (#UKWildfireConf17) in Bournemouth, England. NFPA had the great privilege to present at the conference and support the England & Wales Wildfire Forum and the Scottish Wildfire Forum in their conference planning.
The conference culminated in a resiliency booklet that captures, in descriptive illustrations and findings, the current wildfire challenges faced across landscapes in the United Kingdom, plus a call to action for fire service and resident preparedness.
“It was great to have a product from UK Wildfires Conference 2017 in the form of a small booklet." said Andy. “The delegates formed three habitat based groups and answered six questions over two workshops and the booklet is a summary of their discussion and comments.”
He went onto explain that, “It is certainly not an authoritative statement on Wildfire Mitigation in the UK, but it is a great starting place for a meaningful discussion. In the UK, current legislation requires the Fire Authority to agree to Wildfire Mitigation measures when a landowner wishes to claim grant aid to manage certain habitat types or when they create open habitats from forestry plantations, etc.”
To help that effort, Andy shared that, “It is hoped that the booklet will be used by anybody that has a need to consider wildfire resilience in these circumstances or when creating a new Firewise® Community. The illustrations by Auralab add an element of fun, but also illustrate the key points in a very memorable and visual way.”
At the conference, I served as the facilitator for the “Forestry” habitat workshop and found both hour-long group discussions to be fascinating. About 50 attendees a piece represented fire service, land management, forestry, planning, and policy prospectives.
The open discussions explored what resiliency means across landscapes and what is uniquely needed in each to advance wildfire risk understanding. Far from the usual topics, NFPA was happy to be a part of a conversation that identified socio-economic, forest industry, cultural prospectives, and even urban-forestry exposures.
The focus of the 2017 conference was to frame, “Wildfire resilience in a UK context”. Presentations by national and international speakers explored how to make UK homes, communities, and the landscape more wildfire resilient in the future. NFPA is very pleased to play a supporting role in the collective wildfire outreach implementation efforts by the National Fire Chiefs Council of the UK, the UK fire service forums, the Dorset Urban Heaths Partnership, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, and others going forward.