Ian King, COO at Zeroignition, has provided his thoughts on the impact a rise in wildfires could have on both the environment and communities, and how they can be contained.
“Summer 2022 has been one of the hottest on record and temperatures are set to soar again this weekend, prompting the Met Office to raise the Fire Severity Index to the highest, “exceptional” level for multiple stretches of southern England.
Climate warming is the catalyst for this sharp spike in temperatures and its clear significant change is needed, yet according to the Climate Change Committee the UK’s climate policies are lagging far behind what is needed to meet the Paris agreement. A bold decarbonisation plan is now essential to help prevent heat waves like this one from becoming more dangerous and more frequent.
So, as the temperatures continue to rise, threatening the outbreak of wildfires across the country, we need to turn to countries more experienced in wildfires like the USA and Australia for guidance, which rely heavily on fire suppressants to control outbreaks. As it stands, the UK will only use suppliers approved by the US Forest Service. This means that ‘Phos-Chek’, the suppressant used currently in the US, will also be the number one choice for the UK – yet demand is high.
The issue here is that the supply is limited and will only be able to service some of the demand. The result? An inevitable price war as to who will obtain it first, with the UK competing against wealthy conglomerates in the US.
It’s a worry, and I’m not sure many will have considered the impact given that scorching summers look set to stay here in the UK. Our only hope is to innovate and take lessons from seasoned fire services abroad to ensure we’re doing everything we can to educate our emergency services, and the general public on wildfire prevention and control strategies to keep both us and wild habitats safe throughout the summers for years to come.”
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Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, International Fire Buyer
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922