WITH Spring underway, Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service Community Safety Officer, Mike Aldersey, gives a timely warning to land users who may be considering controlled burning (Muirburning).
Mike said: “It is recognised that the periodic controlled burning of rough grazing and moorland has significant beneficial effects on the management of the land.
“However, fire can quickly get out of control, especially if it is left unattended or if insufficient personnel are available to control the burning.
“The effects on the environment are likely to be devastating as vast areas can rapidly be consumed by fire as they spread to adjoining property, forests and woodland. Costs can then spiral out of control as fire crews, landowners and the workforce can be involved for days in dealing with the fire.
“There are of course legal obligations for carrying out muirburning and you will be guilty of an offence and liable for prosecution for any infringement of these obligations.”
More information is ready available in a booklet entitled “A Muirburn Code” either over the Internet – www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/355582/0120117.pdf or directly from the publishers, Scottish Natural Heritage. A guidance card is also available – www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/355590/0120118.pdf
Here is a simple checklist of what to do if you are planning controlled burning:
Identify fire free areas.
Decide on the size of the fire.
Ensure there are effective fire breaks.
Make sure your fire control equipment is ready, with enough people to use it.
Only burn when the weather is suitable – watch out for strong winds.
Inform neighbours – 7 days notice, in writing, is required.
Notify Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service each day before and after the burning.
Other recommendations which might reduce the number of unnecessary calls to the Fire and Rescue Service are for persons involved in the burning:
Wear high visibility jackets so that members of the public could easily recognise that the fire is being attended.
Display signs indicating that there is burning in progress at the entrance to the property.
With a little common sense and knowledge, the unnecessary destruction and risk to the environment, personnel and the public as well as the unwarranted cost involved can be significantly reduced.
Community Safety Officer Mike Aldersey also appeals to member of the public to exercise great care when enjoying the great outdoors. A carelessly discarded cigarette or match can start a fire which can lead to massive devastation.
Please take care; a little common sense goes a long way in protecting our environment.