How Forestry England respond to wildfires

Result of forest fire

The threat of wildfires to the nation's forests

Wildfires are a growing threat to the nation’s forests as climate change leads to more frequent hot, dry weather and droughts. Forestry England has a co-ordinated approach to preventing and responding to wildfires across the nation’s forests in our care.

How we manage wildfires 

Forestry England works closely with local Fire and Rescue Services to prevent, prepare for, and support with responding to wildfires that happen in the nation’s forests. 

Our overriding priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, visitors and emergency services. We have clear procedures and guidance on how our staff must act during a wildfire. We train staff to ensure they have the knowledge and confidence they need in their roles.

Our staff are not firefighters. We will support the Fire and Rescue Services to tackle wildfires in the nation’s forests by:

  • building strong relationships and working closely with local Fire and Rescue Services. 
  • patrolling the forests and woodlands in our care and reporting fires to local Fire and Rescue Services.
  • monitoring weather conditions when there is a greater risk of wildfires. 
  • attempting to put out small, controlled, and manageable fires such as campfires with beaters or water if available.
  • providing the Fire and Rescue Service with site information, access, local knowledge and forestry expertise.
  • using forest management practices to prevent wildfires and develop greater forest resilience to wildfires. This includes establishing a diverse range of tree species and maintaining fire breaks and rides.
  • continue using prescribed burning in selected areas to maintain and protect open forest habitat.
  • working with stakeholders and engaging the public about wildfire risk and prevention through communications, on-site signs and face-to-face conversations.

To protect our staff in the event of a wildfire, we will not:

  • provide an emergency firefighting service. 
  • suppress wildfires by damping down on site while a wildfire is burning or after the Fire and Rescue Service has withdrawn.
  • use specialist equipment such as bowsers and mulchers on sites where there is an active wildfire.

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