The majority of wildfires in the UK are started by human activity. Although fire defence and site management strategies can be adopted to mitigate the impact and spread of fires, there is a current lack of information on which approaches are most effective.
This report presents the results of a pilot study examining recent wildfires in England that occurred at two National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The study examines what activities took place prior to and during the fires, assesses what actions were effective, and recommends how the lessons learned can be used on these and other sites.
At both NNRs, the fires examined resulted from disposable barbeques. At the SSSI, a fire from a disposable barbeque was followed by two deliberate ignitions. Some form of fire break was effective at all sites, but consideration needs to be given to the approach used to reduce ancillary damage.
Some of the key recommendations for all designated sites include a ban on the use of disposable barbeques and campfires, installation and maintenance of fire breaks, and the use of fire wardens and visitor management to reduce the risk of fires starting.