Saturday, 27 February 2010

English & Welsh Wildfire Forum

I attended what was almost an inaugural meeting of this Forum on 23 - 24 February in Northumberland.

The Forum had been established by Essex Fire & Rescue Service (FRS), almost as an offshoot to the Scottish Wildfire Forum(SWF) (of which I am also a member) but progress had faltered.  Northumberland FRS have now taken over and this was the first meeting under their management.   One of the outcomes was that the Forum should encompass Welsh interests and would be referred to as the English & Welsh Wildfire Forum - it remains to be seen whether this will introduce any tensions into the management of the Forum.

I think it important that the Trust has an input to this Forum.  Land management interests are represented by the Moorland Association and the Country Land & Business Association but I think our overview, our links to the SWF and links to other parts of England & Wales means that we can add Heineken value - 'reach the parts that others cannot reach'.

Other important role for the Trust is to provide a link to (prescribed) heather burning.  My involvement with the Moorland Burning Working Group in England is important here and the FRS view that all fire is bad needs to be diluted with experience of using fire as a management tool.

I hope that this reinvention of the Wildfire Forum will be successful.  I believe it has an important role to play.

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