Northumberland Fire and Rescue service and 12 international partners are preparing for a busy year ahead as they reach a milestone in an ambitious European wildfire project.

The European Forest Fire Networks Project (EUFOFINET), which launched in October 2010, is now at its half-way point and entering an important final year.

Following successful workshops in France (May 2011) and Denmark (September 2011), Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, representing the UK, will continue to work with partners from Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Poland and the Slovak Republic. A further five workshops, designed to share best practice and strengthen approaches to tackling and preventing wildfires, have been planned to take place across Europe.

The 24-month project, which is co-financed with European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) through the INTERREG IVC Programme, is addressing key themes related to wildfire, including: detection and prevention of wildfires; wildfire suppression strategies; mapping risks and hazards; training and simulation strategies and restoration of land burned by wildfire.  

Following completion of all six workshops the project will identify examples of good practice that can be transferred in part or in full to any European country.   

In March 2012, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service will host a workshop, which will focus on good practice in fighting and suppressing wildfires.

Alex Bennett, Acting Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We are looking forward to hosting the workshop in March and preparations are already underway. Our involvement in the EUROFINET project has been very rewarding so far. We believe that during the coming year the project will help Northumberland and all European partners to develop and refine best practice for the management of wildfires, which can be tailored to local conditions."

Following completion of all six workshops, the EUFOFINET partners will develop individual action plans which will outline how they will integrate and implement some of the best practice that has been exchanged within their own localities and regions. These action plans will be designed to make a significant impact on regional and perhaps national environmental policies. 

Another key activity of the EUFOFINET Project will be the development of a glossary of terminology for wildfire for use in Europe. This task is being led by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service. It is hoped that the glossary will enable European countries to work together more effectively and safely at wildfire incidents and become an important training tool for new and existing firefighters.  

In order to share the positive experiences and good practices identified during the project, an international conference will be held in Brussels next summer. The event will be targeted at fire and rescue services, foresters, government officials and other stakeholders in the European wildfire community.  

EUFOFINET will culminate in the creation of a European network of experts regarding wildfire issues. This network will be a key legacy of the project, which will extend the exchanges of good practice beyond the life of the project. 


Posted October 12th, 2011 at 0955 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: