Saturday, 28 July 2018

Climate change: how to prevent wildfires on the East Devon heaths

We need to look after our heaths - as last year's fires reminded us:
Firefighters tackle major blaze on Woodbury Common | Honiton, Axminster and Seaton news - Midweek Herald
New cloud formation over Woodbury Common | West Country - ITV News
Aerial footage shows far-spread damage of Woodbury Common fire | West Country - ITV News

And we can learn from these events:
Futures Forum: East Devon's pebblebed heaths > How research into their recovery following the wildfires will 'inform internationally significant climate change research'

Earlier this week, BBC Spotlight was up on Woodbury Common:
BBC One - Spotlight

Looking at how stressed the trees are:
Trees Respond to Drought Stress – The Climate CIRCulator
How heat and drought kills trees - The University of Sydney

Earlier in the year, Clinton Devon Estates and Devon and Somerset Fire Service hosted a public event to inform people about the risks of wildfires: 

East Devon Pebblebed Heaths holds fire safety awareness event | Latest Exmouth News - Exmouth Journal

With some practical advice here from the fire services - following a spate of wild fires in the county this month: 

Wild fire safety advice

Simon Young, station manager and prevention manger at Danes Castle has shared his safety advice:

He said: “We are on high alert for wild fires at the moment and that covers any open land really as it has become so dry and is like a tinderbox, in particular our national parks such as Exmoor and Dartmoor and any common land like Woodbury Common.

“We would like the public to take responsibility of being vigilant, not only with their own actions but those of others people.”

. Our advice around wild fires or any outdoor fires is to follow the countryside code.

Avoid open fires in the countryside and always make sure you have then in safe and designated areas. If there are no signs saying it is an designated area you should not have a fire out in the open.

Don’t leave bottles of glass as the sun can shine on them and start a fine, so take them home with you and put them in the bin.

. Be careful of how you dispose of cigarettes, especially from car windows. car side verges are like a tinderbox because the grass is so dry at the moment.

. If you see a fire in the countryside report it immediately. If you see someone illegally starting a fire it’s a crime. Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

. Advice to farmers is to look at anything that will produce large amounts of heat such as machinery and lighting, and to keep it away from combustible surfaces such as crops or hay.

. With barbecues it’s what you do with the coals afterwards people need to be aware of. Don’t put hot ashes into dustbins or wheelie bins.

Keep a bucket of water, sand or garden hose nearby in case of an emergency.

Always follows the safety instructions provided with the barbecue. Don’t overload them with charcoal.

When lighting a barbecue use recognised lighters, lighter fluid or fire lighters. Don’t use petrol or paraffin which can cause life threatening injuries.

Never leave a lit barbecue unattended and make sure it is not put on a combustible surface such as a dry piece of ground. Also remember to keep the barbecue away from fences, trees and wheelie bins.

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