Extreme fire risk in Scotland

We have not seen a drought like this one for many years. In many parts of the country all fuel layers have become “available to burn”. There has been no significant rain for a long time now, with a consequent continuing increase in fire danger. We are now also in the main holiday period with many people out enjoying the countryside.

This assessment by Michael Bruce, Managing Director of Firebreak Services Ltd http://firebreakservices.co.uk is that the level of fire danger is now extreme. This will continue until Sunday 8th of July, for the whole of Scotland. There is light rain forecast initially for NW and then W Scotland by Monday 9th July, which should provide some relief there. However Eastern and Southern Scotland have a continuing drought.

This means that there is the potential for extreme fire behaviour, should we get ignitions, especially in grassland, gorse, moorland and forest habitats. There will also be potential for re-ignitions and significant smouldering. So all phases of fire suppression: knock-down, containment and mop-up and patrol will be important. Increasing thought needs to be given to dry fire fighting techniques.

Although the news has focused on the very large Saddleworth and Bolton fires. There have also been very large fires in Wales, Northern Ireland and one or two in Scotland as well.

If you have “High Fire Risk” signs, now would be a good time to put them up, also consider checking known problem areas and having equipment prepared etc.

Conditions for anyone tackling any fires will also be very difficult and de-hydration could become an issue. Provision of water will be essential.