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Wildfire Training

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You guessed it, another Wildfire Topic to go with the Wildfire Equipment and Wildfire PPE topics.

As much as most UK Fire and Rescue Services will have large grassed areas, do you have specific training on wildfire. I know the likes of Northumberland and probably the Welsh and Cumbrian services will dedicate a certain amount of time to wildfire. 

How much specific wildfire training does you service deliver and what does it consist of?

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I experienced a couple of small scale wildfires during my time with Shropshire FRS and definitely underestimated the effort needed to contain and control it along with the speed at which the fire can develop, especially in very dry corn fields on a hot windy day.

No specific training was provided apart from on the job information which you then retained for the next one. Alot of jobs are different as well, some can be reached with extended HRJ, water supply permitting, whereas others are pure manpower with beaters. We even had one job where the farmer turned up with a water trailer on his tractor to assist us (see attached picture). 


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I think we in West Mids get diddly squat although we are mostly covered by concrete.  To be fair I think the folks at Sutton know a thing or two covering Sutton Park which is a fair size. 

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Having worked in the former Strathclyde I have never received any practical training on dealing with Wildfire/forest/grass fires. I cannot recall any technical training prior to the Maintenance Phased Development Plan (MPDP) being introduced which will likely have been in the form of an on-line lecture pack.

Many, many, moons past (is it really 30 years?) I was handed a grass beater constructed from a small pole with a piece of 70mm hose attached to it and told to go and beat the edge of the fire with it.

Any training was always "on the job" as it currently is.

@Steel City- I do agree that experience was kept and used on the next fire

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Everyone has had wildfire input including wildfire behaviour, fuel.loadings, safe working,defensive and offensive tactics, foam , additives, environmental considerations.

Some us us have worked closely with Northumberland for map reading and wildfire fire prediction.

When I'm.near a work pc I'll try to upload some presentations, but as mentioned elsewhere the Wildfire NOG is very helpful

Edited by Carl
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  • 2 weeks later...

Northumberland ( Rob Stacey, Bruce Hardy and Keith ? ) deliver the Advanced Wildfire Instructor course but is no longer accredited but is an excellent course for developing initial Wildfire response and applying WPS and forces of alignment. Training can also be sought from local FOG groups and I know the peak district have previously delivered a wildfire course. Craig Hope down in South Wales is keen to develop a suppression burning wildfire course down in the Brecon Beacons. 

Other than that collaborative burning projects are the best way forward if you have a good relationship with local land managers they will let you observe them carrying out controlled burns and sometimes get involved ( Seasonal )  However, controlled burning is controversial with many organisations are anti burning with the damage that can be caused to the moorland and restoration projects, downstream flooding, nesting birds etc. Lots of Pros and cons.



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Jeez, is Bruce still doing it, one of the originals I remember doing the map reading part of the course with Bruce in Northumberland many moons ago (and a night out in a club some where close by) then they came down south and delivered a bespoke wildfire awareness course at Reigate.

Met up with them again some years later at Swinley forest and various wildfire conferences.

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They have been to Saddleworth and Winter Hill, I managed to catch up with them last week for a quick brew at our STC where I work now. Great blokes and still passionate about what they do. 

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On ‎01‎/‎07‎/‎2018 at 07:47, Becile said:

it's not the most recent, but this may help others

SFRS Wildfire Handbook v2.pdf

Above noted reference is pretty good.  Here is a PP if anyone wants a starting point for their own basic Spring Review for Wildland.

One addition, due to the fuels and access in our boreal forest area heavy equipment is often used to create access to the fire and create fire lines.  This article Dozer Boss: How firefighters are using bulldozers to combat wildfires provides some basic info.  In fact, with this basic knowledge I was able to instruct/teach a "hobbie" heavy equipment operator enough to cut a guard that ultimately saved at least 8 homes in a rural subdivision area during the Fort Mac fires.

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  • 5 months later...

I have just returned from a prescribed burning course being run by South Wales. Good informative course in its application but needs the underpinning knowledge that the Northumberland course can provide. As I work in Training at the moment and everything is about SFJ I made some tentative enquires re: accreditation and currently no-one offers this and SFJ do not provide a course unless there is a business case. Following the year we have just had I think it could well be the time for someone to put the training framework together with Learning Outcomes and I am sure it could be accredited to bring a consistency across all FRS's. 

I have also just been asked to pick up a NFCC Wildfire Tac Ad role which I am looking forward to and hopefully I can bring in some of my experiences from the moors :)

Wishing you all the best for the New Year


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