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News & events

Wildfire Research Workshop

On 7th June, a workshop was held at Kings College London bringing together researchers from across the UK to working on wildfires. Organised by Rob Gazzard of the Forestry Commission, the event aimed to reflect on recent work on UK wildfires and to map out strategic research priorities for the coming years. In total 21 researchers from academia and the forestry sector were present representing many UK and USA institutions.

Julia McMorrow from the KfWf project presented a paper on the UK wildfire research landscape.

Further presentations from the day will be available via the KfWf website in due course and we will make the links available from this news item.

(posted 21 June 2017)

UK Wildfires Conference 2017

The UK Wildfires Conference will be hosted this year by the Dorset Urban Heath Partnership, 7 & 8 November 2017.

The theme for the event is 'Wildfire resilience in a UK context'. The conference will investigate how to make UK homes, communities and landscapes more wildfire resilient in the future. Climate change predictions suggest that the UK will see more extreme wildfire weather; this conference hopes to make us better prepared should these predictions come true.

Check back in the coming months for more information as it is released.

(posted 06 April 2017)

2017 World Conference on Natural Resource Modelling, 6 – 9 June 2017

The World Conference on Natural Resource Modelling brings together scientists and stakeholders interested in mathematical and numerical modelling of renewable and exhaustible resources. The WCNRM2017 will be a pool for exchanging ideas to help inform management ecosystems, natural resources and their exploitation. The Pau Costa Foundation is one of the main conference organisers and they have included fire ecology and management modelling as a main section of the conference.

The abstract deadline has been extended until 17 February.

In parallel there will be a also full-day workshop organised by the GEO-SAFE project which is a project developing wildfire modelling in Europe and Australia. The workshop details will be available soon.

(posted 09 February 2017)

England and Wales Wildfire Forum Launches Newsletter

At the end of 2016, the England and Wales Wildfire Forum (EWWF) launched their first newsletter]. The newsletter provides important information about wildfire-related issues, including:

  • A brief overview of the work of the EWWF and its key activities during 2016
  • A summary of some of the important wildfire events, exercises and meetings that have taken place in the UK during 2016.
  • Information about future wildfire events and meetings that will take place during 2017.
  • Contact details for the EWWF.

(posted 03 February 2017)

Updates from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service has had a busy year leading and contributing to a range of national and international wildfire projects.

(posted 29 November 2016)

Your chance to contribute to Natural England wildfire evidence review

Natural England are conducting an Evidence Review on the topic of wildfire on peatlands and heaths in the UK. The review is underway but they are interested in receiving additional suggestions for relevant litertuare or publications. 

They are also keen to capture practical and experiential evidence which may not be formally recorded. Any contribution you can make to the review of relevant unpublished evidence would be welcomed. They are particularly keen to receive examples of fire interventions that were bespoke for whatever reason and any examples where an existing firebreak helped with the control of a wildfire.  Photographs illustrating any examples would be helpful.

Alistair Crowle is co-ordinating responses on behalf of Natural England and any contributions should be addressed to him (by 31 October) - alistair.crowle@naturalengland.org.uk

(posted 26 September 2016)

Royal Society special issue - 'The interaction of fire and mankind'

Special Issue CoverKnowledge for Wildfire has contributed to a recent special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B “The Interaction of Fire and Mankind”.

Fire has been an important part of the Earth System for over 350 million years, however humans are the only animals to have used, and controlled fire.  The issue has brought together world-leading experts on wildfire to discuss the role of fire in landscapes, and the tensions and challenges that this can create for human inhabitants.

One of the papers (available as Open Access), “Wildfire policy and management in England: an evolving response from Fire and Rescue Services, forestry and cross-sector groupsdetails how the first efforts to coordinate wildfire management in the UK came from local cross-sector fire groups. It also charts the evolution of wildfire management over the past two decades. 

Wildfire risk management is a balance between response and prevention. Whilst Fire and Rescue Services have an important fire suppression role, land management is needed to control the vegetation which fuels fires. The paper calls for an inclusive cross-sector approach to wildfire risk management, building on what has worked best at local level in fire groups.  In densely populated areas, it’s less about the size of a fire and more about the potential impact on settlements and infrastructure, so development planning is also a critical consideration.

UK wildfire practice and policy is highlighted elsewhere in the issue including Living on a flammable planet, as well as a supplementary “Policy challenges and a UK research agenda” (PDF).

(posted 31 May 2016)

Peatland fuel research – project reports

In summer 2014, colleagues from the Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid (IFV) and Stephen F. Austin (SFA) University conducted a series of vegetation monitoring campaigns in Northumberland to help inform wildfire spread modelling in peatland ecosystems.  The results of these studies have been compiled into a summary photoguide (available via the KfWf Briefing papers and reports).

(posted 28 October 2015)

'Fire and Mankind': Royal Society Discussion Meeting

Julia McMorrow (Geography) and Jonathan Aylen (MBS) worked with the Royal Society at an international meeting and workshop on The Interaction of Fire and Mankind, 14-17 September. The conference was part of a Royal Society programme to bring together environmental, social, and physical scientists from around the world.

The main two-day conference in London was followed by two further days of structured discussion for invited participants at Chicheley Hall, Northamptonshire, on Contradiction, conflict and compromise: addressing the many dimensions of sustainability in human-fire-climate relationships’ Julia and Jonathan ran a discussion group to develop a research agenda on wildfire for countries like the UK, where climate change is expected to increase wildfire risk. A summary of the discussions will be published as part of the special issue of Phil. Trans. Royal Society B devoted to the conference.

Julia and Jonathan also presented a poster on cross-disciplinary wildfire research at Manchester, with contributions from two Faculties and four Schools (SEAES, Maths, MBS and Geography).

(posted 06 October 2015)

The interaction of fire and mankind

Royal Society scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor Bill Chaloner FRS, Professor Claire Belcher and Dr Chris Roos.

The Royal Society,
London 14 – 15 September 2015

The complex interrelationships between fire and mankind transcend international borders and disciplinary boundaries. The spectre of climate change highlights the need to improve our understanding of these relationships across space and time. This meeting will examine historical, evolutionary, and biophysical tensions inherent in the fire-climate-society nexus to advance the international, interdisciplinary science necessary to address contemporary and future fire challenges. Intended for researchers within the field, this meeting is free to attend, but registration is essential.

(posted 03 August 2015)

Wildfire Management - What weather and climate information do stakeholders need?

As part of the FP7 EUPORIAS project, along with colleagues in Spain, the Met Office are aiming to investigate the skill and value of seasonal forecasts of two fire risk indices to the fire management community in Europe. As part of the work they hope to understand better the information requirements of users in this community and have developed a short questionnaire for decision makers. Please visit the site to complete the survey.
For details on the project contact nicola.golding@metoffice.gov.uk.

(posted 19 March 2015)

Wildfire research and its impact on Policy, Planning and Operations: The Swinley Forest fire

KfWf is helping to organise a free one-day event detailing the outcomes of the Swinley Forest Fire of 2011, with research from the Universities of Manchester, Greenwich and Kings College London.

University of Greenwich, SE10 9LS,
10th April 2015,
Registration 0830, start 0920, end 1630

The interdisciplinary seminar and workshop, brings together the emergency services, emergency planners, development planners and landowners/regulators.  It aims to define policy, planning and operational outcomes with the following objectives:

  • To raise awareness of wildfire impacts on the rural-urban interface.
  • To build cross-sector resilience at the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery phases
  • To highlight lessons learnt, identifying barriers and proposing solutions for improved resilience.

Further information: Rob Gazzard, Forestry Commission England, 07884 235688

(posted 17 February 2015)

10th EARSeL Forest Fire Special Interest Group Workshop, 2-5 November, 2015

The European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSeL) will be holding a Forest Fire special interest group meeting in Cyprus, 2-5 November 2015. The event, entitled "Sensors, Multi-sensor integration, large volumes: New opportunities and challenges in Forest Fire Research", will focus on the use of multi-scale sensors, including UAV, drone, aircraft, helicopter, Landsat/Sentinel, MODIS/PROBA and systematic observations through Landsat WELD and Sentinel 1/2/3 to conduct research in forest fires.

(posted 05 February 2015)

Tasmanian Bushfire Risk

On Friday 23rd January 2015, KfWf attended an informal briefing from Sandy Whight, the Manager of Tasmania’s state Fire Management Council.  Thanks to Rob Gazzard (Forestry Commission) for organising it. Sandy gave a fascinating insight into Tasmania’s bushfire issues and GIS-based risk management approach. The attached reports “Bushfire in Tasmania” (PDF, 13.8 MB) and the “Planned Burning Manual” (PDF, 6.1 MB) are provide an informative understanding of the issues at hand.

(posted 27 January 2015)

Met office report on Wildfire Workshop

KfWf attended the Met Office Wildfire workshop, 2-3rd December 2014. Julia McMorrow presented on the Wildfire Threat Analysis for the Swinley Forest Area as an example of translating national scale approaches to a local level.

The contact for further information is nicola.golding@metoffice.gov.uk

(posted 27 January 2015)

Wildfire Threat Analysis (WTA): NERC-funded scoping project with Forestry Commission

From December 2013 to May 2014, the Natural Environment Research Council funded Julia McMorrow, Jonathan Aylen and Aleksandra Kazmierczak from Manchester University to undertake a scoping project to evaluate the potential of Wildfire Threat Analysis (WTA) for the UK context. WTA has been used successfully to map wildfire threat at a national level in Canada and New Zealand.

A post-project report is now available in the Briefing papers section which includes the methodology and initial findings of this scoping study.
For more information contact julia.mcmorrow@manchester.ac.uk.

(posted 02 December 2014)

Met Office 2014 Wildfire Workshop

The programme for the Met Office Wildfire Conference (3rd – 4th December 2014) is now out.

Places are still available for the event, please contact wildfire@metoffice.gov.uk with any enquires

(posted 13 November 2014)

Met Office Wildfire Workshop – Call for abstracts

The Met Office will be holding their second wildfire workshop on 3rd – 5th December 2014, at the Met Office, Exeter. The call for abstracts is out now and closes 15th September 2014.

(posted 26 August 2014)

“Be Fire Aware” campaign launched in Peak District

The Peak District National Park launched their "Be Fire Aware" publicity campaign at the Edale Moorland Centre in Derbyshire in July 2014. The campaign highlights the risk and consequences of accidental wildfires to the public. The Knowledge for Wildfire project were in attendance at the launch, where innovative wildfire mapping software, based on work from the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, was on show. For more details see the attached release.

(posted 11 August 2014)

Report from KfWf's visiting speaker Brian Oswald (Stephen F. Austin State University)

A short report from Julia McMorrow on the various activities and events during Brian Oswald's visit with KfWf.

(posted 27 June 2014)

Informal Seminar on Wildfire Risk in the UK

"Knowledge for wildfire" is a hub for practitioners and academics alike and its activities are both formal and informal. So the NERC funded Knowledge for Wildfire ran an informal seminar to share know-how on wildfire risk in the UK. The seminar ran jointly between Manchester University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas on Tuesday 10th June.

(posted 20 June 2014)

3rd Wildfire@Manchester Seminar: Linking fire ecology and fire risk

KfWf is pleased to announce the 3rd Wildfire@Manchester seminar which will be held on the 12th June 2014. The keynote speaker will be Professor Brian Oswald, Professor of Forestry at Austin State University and President of the Association for Fire Ecology. Speaking on how fire ecology can inform wildfire risk management, Prof. Oswald will draw on a range of his research from around the world that links ecology, fire behaviour and on-the-ground data.

(posted 22 April 2014)

Northumberland National Park pilots automated wildfire detection

Northumberland National park along with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service are trialling an automated system designed to give early warning of wildfires.

(posted 29 January 2014)

Northumberland Collaborative Burning Project

Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service is delivering an ambitious plan to reduce the risk of wildfire across the county to help protect people, the economy and the environment. The project called Northumberland Collaborative Burning Project, is being financed through NFRS and the National Park's Sustainable Development Fund.

(posted 29 January 2014)

The Knowledge for Wildfire project successful in gaining NERC funding

The Knowledge for Wildfire project has been successful in gaining NERC funding with the Forestry Commission for a new project on wildfire threat analysis in the UK. The project, which runs until May 2014, will look at the feasibility of combining two major risk assessment frameworks to help forest managers and planners with their decision making on forest fire risk.

(posted 25 November 2013)

Papers presented at Institution of Fire Engineers RE13

Julia McMorrow (KfWf KE Fellow) and Prof. John Dold (University of Manchester) presented papers at the Institution of Fire Engineers RE13 Conference, Fire Services College, Moreton-in-Marsh, 14 Nov 2013. Papers covered the KfWf project and ongoing wildfire research at the University of Manchester and can be found under the Presentations section.

(posted 25 November 2013)

Wildfire 2013 Poster Abstracts and Reports

Wildfire 2013, the biennial UK conference on wildfire, was held 22nd-23rd October in Hensol, South Wales.  KfWf sponsored the poster session and we have now uploaded copies of the poster abstracts and PDF versions of the posters to our website.  View posters in the Presentations section. 

Poster authors who received a KfWf bursary have been writing reflections on the conference and they are available under Briefing Papers.

(posted 07 November 2013)

Report and slides for ‘Understanding fire intensity and severity’, 2nd wildfire@manchester seminar

A 29-page report is now available. It includes slide-by-slide commentary, responses from the two discussants, a summary of the discussion which followed, post-seminar reflection, and a four-per page version of the slides. A full size version of the slides is also available to download.

(posted 18 October 2013)

KfWf is sponsoring sessions at two UK fire conferences this autumn

Wildfire 2013 biennial conference, 22-23 Oct 2013, Vale Resort, Hensol, Glamorgan

Julia McMorrow will give an update on KfWf activities, followed by a poster session promoting research by early career researchers.  
We still have poster space and a £150 poster presenter bursary.

Wildfire 2013 is the essential UK event for anyone involved in wildfire management or research.  It focuses on the practical aspects of wildfire management, informed by the best knowledge and experience from around the world.  It is the latest in the series of biennial wildfire conferences for the UK & Ireland, attracting an audience of over 100 wildfire practitioners from the Fire & Rescue, land management, emergency planning and related disciplines.

Fire Related Research Re13, 14 Nov 2013, Fire Services College, Moreton-in-Marsh

(posted 07 October 2013)

Create impact from your research: present a poster at Wildfire 2013

Wildfire 2013 is the UK and Ireland's leading professional development event for wildfire practitioners. The Wildfire conference is held alternative years and attracts over 100 people from Fire & Rescue Services, land management organisations, government departments and researchers. It consists of plenary sessions, workshops, a field trip and a wildfire equipment and services exhibition.

There’s still time to offer a poster for the poster session, which is being sponsored by Knowledge for Wildfire. The conference is an excellent opportunity for researchers to promote their work and get feedback from potential end-users.

Topics related to NERC-funded projects are especially welcome, but we would be pleased to receive proposals on a wide range of wildfire-related subjects. Please note that Wildfire 2013 is primarily for practitioners so the subject and content of your poster should reflect this.

Send the proposed title and a short abstract (no more than 200 words) to martin.glynn@ruraldevelopment.org.uk by Tuesday 17th September. We will be able to respond to people within a few days. We have plenty of space at the venue, so we anticipate being able to accept all suitable proposed posters.

KfWf have a limited number of bursaries to help towards poster presenters’ costs. Priority will be given to posters on NERC-related topics and early career presenters.  If you wish to be considered, please indicate on your abstract.

Posters will be displayed in the main conference room and there will be an allocated time for delegates to view posters and talk to the authors on day 1 (22 October). Following Wildfire 2013, and subject to authors agreement, posters will be made available online on the Wildfire 2013 website.

Authors of posters will be eligible to attend at the discounted rate of £60 for one day or £120 for both days (+ VAT).

Accommodation must be booked separately. The conference venue hotel, the Vale Resort in Glamorgan, is offering B&B at the special rate of £75 ppn (exc VAT), subject to availability. Quote ‘Wildfire 2013’ to get the conference rate.

(posted 03 September 2013)

What can the UK learn from New Zealand wildfire risk management systems?

New Zealand has a long tradition of living and working with fire. Land clearance over the last 2,500 years has taken place largely using fire and it remains widely used to improve grazing, remove cropping residues and other wastes. New Zealand's climate and land surface area are similar to the UK's but there is much more land under native vegetation. Wildfires have been an endemic problem in this predominantly rural country. New Zealand has evolved legislation, a dedicated government department, research programmes and a well developed communication resource to help land managers plan for and respond to wildfires. A new report by Andy Moffat and Grant Pearce concludes that a number of the tools developed in New Zealand are suitable for the UK, but that to be effective, a culture and policy environment supportive of fire risk management is also required.

(posted 27 July 2013)

England and Wales Wildfire Forum Press Release: How to Reduce the Risk of Wildfires

Every year, fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats and although some are started deliberately most of them are due to carelessness. EWWF are reminding everyone to take particular care, not only during this current dry spell, but throughout the year to help reduce the unnecessary attendance of the Fire Service at preventable fires, which can quickly become large and protracted incidents given the current weather conditions. Staying Safe Do’s and Don’ts....

(posted 23 July 2013)

July’s hot weather increases wildfire risk to AMBER for SE England

The recent heatwave has led to the Met Office issuing a wildfire warning. The wildfire alert status has been raised to AMBER across southeastern England for the period covering Friday 19 July to Sunday 21 July. This alert status is reached when extreme wildfire conditions are currently causing or likely to lead to difficult to control wildfires.

(posted 21 July 2013)

Understanding fire intensity and severity: Implications for managing wildfire and prescribed fire

The concepts of fire severity and fireline intensity are widely used, but how well do we really understand them? Starting with a keynote from a fire behaviour scientist and followed by invited respondents from different practitioner perspectives, this event aims to foster a lively debate about these concepts and their practical implications.

(posted 20 May 2013)

How IT can help manage wildfire

IAWF's March-April issue of Wildfire Magazine has a useful review of how GIS and other information technology is being used in the US to manage wildland fire.

(posted 16 April 2013)

Fires large enough to be seen from space burn in the Highlands and Islands

(posted 11 April 2013)

The first wildfire@manchester event

Over 40 people attended the first wildfire@manchester event on 27 Feb.

(posted 27 February 2013)

(posted 21 February 2013)

Do you have any other wildfire-related news that you'd like to share? Contact us with your suggestions.