As wildfire risk to property and fire continues to be a growing problem in the UK, the Chief Fire Officers Association has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Fire Protection Agency and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Growing concerns regarding climate change, increased demands for new homes in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) and variations in land management practices have pressed stakeholders across the UK to place greater emphasis on a holistic solution to wildfire mitigation and safety education that includes not only fire and rescue services, but land management agencies, civic leaders and homeowners.
"The problem of wildland fires is not just an American problem but an international one,” said James M. Shannon, NFPA’s president.
"NFPA is pleased to join the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Chief Fire Officers Association to expand the outreach of wildland fire safety information and initiatives throughout the United Kingdom. It is a great opportunity to collaborate on a common goal – reducing the losses associated with wildfire."
Increasing public awareness of wildfire
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the three organisations will serve as the framework of cooperation between NFPA, IAFC and CFOA, and relates to the delivery of WUI education and wild land fire risk mitigation programs. While CFOA will recommend and implement its own WUI programmes, wildfire mitigation strategies and codes aimed at reducing WUI property loss and increasing public awareness of wildfire risk throughout the UK, the newly formed partnership will allow CFOA to base the development of its materials and programs on NFPA’s and IAFC’s Firewise Communities/USA, Fire Adapted Communities and Ready, Set, Go! programmes, according to the MOU.
"The Firewise and Ready, Set, Go! programme messages are compatible with the wildfire community resilience planning and personal safety messages that CFOA Wildfire Group wishes to disseminate,” said Roy Wilsher, CFOA Operations Director.
"The success of these national WUI programmes in the United States sets a precedent for the potential adoption of a similar approach in the UK and Europe, and where appropriate, could include the development of a similar UK Firewise recognition and/or a Ready, Set, Go! Program led by UK Fire and Rescue Services and their partners within the wildfire community."