Thursday, 6 March 2014

Wildfire in Scotland - being taken seriously

The appointment of a Wildfire Project Manager by the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) is very welcome.  Group Manager Garry Burnett is an old friend as he had been involved with the Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) in its early days.

This appointment was reported in today's edition of the P&J and also Highland News.

Garry will be working directly to Assistant Chief Officer Robert Scott who is the Chairman of the SWF.  This appointment is a clear and very welcome statement of intent by the SFRS to treat the threat posed by wildfire seriously.  We have some distance to travel to being muirburn issues together with wildfire but this appointment will help us move faster in the right direction.

In my role as Vice-chairman of the England & Wales Wildfire Forum (EWWF), as well as being on the Executive Committee of the SWF, I will be seeking a more integrated approach to wildfire north and south of the border.  There are many potential benefits of closer working.  Another important group to bring into this arena is the Chief Fire Officer's Association Wildfire Group.  This is made easier as the chairman of this Group is Paul Hedley, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service, who is also a leading light of the the EWWF.

It is a world that is full of acronyms, and there are many hurdles to be jumped, but the threat from wildfire must be given a higher profile before we are forced to pay more attention by the next spate of wildfires.  It is not 'if', it is 'when'.

Well done to the SFRS for grasping this issue so positively.