As great wildfire preparedness day events kicked off on Saturday, May 4, across the United States, they were joined by residents in the south of England who accepted this call to action in their community as well. Preparedness Day events are now occurring in the UK, Canada, Italy, and Spain. I caught up with Lin Kettley, manager of the Firewise UK effort in Dorset, England, to learn more about their day and its lessons for success.
Lin shared that, “Our Firewise group in Beacon Road [Dorset] had a very successful first ever Prep Day. I visited them during the day and they were working hard cutting back and clearing plants and debris in their gardens.”
Lin explained that the work day ended with, “A well-attended BBQ with everyone bringing along a contribution and they raised over £200 by holding a raffle for their start- up fund allowing them to purchase a large steel box to hold emergency equipment.”
One of the residents, Duncan Sowry-House, said of the event, “The first Corfe Mullen Firewise preparation day was extremely successful. Our group took advantage of the awareness that had been given and were motivated to come together as a community and work for the common good. Our families and homes are precious to all of us as well as our environment. Firewise is more than an initiative; it reduces risk and going forward will be a way of life.”
The day also saw residents collect specific yard debris for a valuable purpose. Their homes border managed open-lands of the “urban heaths” and share that vegetation. Samples of numerous pants and shrubs were cut and bagged for research that Professor Claire Belcher of Exeter University is currently holding in the burn lab to measure the risks and flammability of the samples.
The goal is to share a wider understanding of the fuel risks around homes with the residents and gain a stronger risk profile for the urban heath vegetation. I think this effort shows the great partnerships that can arise out of Wildfire Preparedness Day and its ability to identify common-purpose between different wildfire stakeholders.
Wildfire Preparedness Day events are also occurring in Canada, Italy, and Spain. We’ll share stories from these over the summer and applaud all the work of residents who are making a difference in their communities.
Photos courtesy of Andy Elliott, click on photos to visit original post on Twitter.
Sign up for Fire Break Newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news and information on key wildfire issues