I have been asked by the Scottish Government to set up a further meeting (on 28 Jul 09) of the Muirburn Group, which I chair through Scotland's Moorland Forum, to consider the use of suppression fires as a means of controlling wildfires. The concept is that a fire can be stopped if it runs into an area that has already been burned and the aim of the firefighter is to get ahead of the fire and burn a fire into the oncoming fire, probably by back burning, into the wind.
It is a simple concept but the more you think about it, the more complicated it becomes! The Group may well find itself considering three different situations: within or without of the muirburn season, in daylight or at night, and / or with and without the presence of the Fire & Rescue Service.
Although this is a Scottish Group, it is interesting that suppression fires were not considered as part of the separate reviews of the Heather & Grass Burning Codes in England & Wales. Therefore, the findings of the Group will be relevant across the UK.
While my wings are clipped by the medical world, I will not be able to attend the meeting, but I will be preparing the Discussion Document for the meeting and dealing with the output from it. This will feed into the consultation that is running on the Wildlife & Natural Environment Bill, about which I will be waxing lyrical, next week.