A Word on Wildfires and Prevention
by Emily Jannet on Aug 25, 2022
Until recently, the very notion of wildfires becoming a genuine issue in the United Kingdom would have seemed farfetched. But with global warming having become an unfortunate and undeniable reality, we could be looking at a future where wildfires are a regular appearance.
The devastation caused across the country during July’s unprecedented heatwave took the entire nation by surprise. Wildfires broke out in a number of regions for the first time, leaving behind a trail of destruction.
With the effects of global warming set to worsen in the future, experts believe wildfires will become more commonplace during the warmer months of the year. Given how research suggests that around 90% of all wildfires are caused by humans, the importance of adopting a proactive approach to their prevention cannot be overstated.
Of course, the overwhelming majority of wildfires are triggered accidentally. Comparatively few blazes are started deliberately – most result from acts of carelessness and/or irresponsible behaviour.
With more hot weather and potential droughts on the horizon, experts are pleading with the public to play their part in keeping the country safe. Specifically, the following tips and guidelines have been issued on the subject of wildfire and prevention:
Monitor weather and drought conditions
If you plan on heading out and about into the wild, it is essential to keep a close eye on weather and drought conditions. If there has been a long spell of dry weather and temperatures are high, the risk of a wildfire breaking out is also elevated.
You may also find that in accordance with weather and drought conditions, different rules and regulations may be brought into effect. For example, local or national authorities may prohibit campfires, or the use of barbecues outdoors.
Be careful and sensible with campfires
If you intend to light a campfire, it is essential to do so in an open location away from anything flammable. Scrape away as much loose vegetation as possible, and dig a pit for the fire right down into the soil.
Keep the fire to the smallest possible size, and under no circumstances leave it unattended. Watch for anything that may be igniting in the vicinity, and ensure it is extinguished. When you are finished with your fire, douse it with as much water as necessary to put it out completely. After which, the remaining wood should be stirred with a stick, before being doused again with another bucket of water.
Use flint tools carefully
Flint tools and pocket fire starters, in general, can be great for transforming dry tinder into a roaring campfire. However, the sparks they produce could also accidentally set light to anything nearby they land on.
Just as would be the case when using lighters and matches, care should be taken when using flint tools of any kind. If possible, practice starting a fire with your preferred flint tools ahead of your trip, so that you know how to get the job done safely.
Keep vehicles off dry grass
If you plan on taking a car or camper with you, never drive it or run the engine on dry grass. It’s important to remember that certain engine components and the exhaust of a car can easily reach temperatures high enough to start a fire.
To ensure your vehicle is in good working order, keep it as far away from anything flammable as possible.
Alert the authorities immediately
Last up, anything more than a rudimentary fire of a small size you can easily tackle should be treated as an emergency. If you come across a wildfire of any size, it is essential to alert the authorities immediately.
The speed at which wildfires can spread is simply astonishing. Don’t risk your own health and safety – report the fire and exit the area immediately.
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