FIRE chiefs have joined forces with the Forestry Commission as part of a new initiative to cut the number of blazes in the countryside.
Firefighters will share information so they are able to tackle fires in the most efficient way by finding the nearest water supplies quickly and knowing all about the land in advance.
With the summer holidays underway, signs are also being put up in areas particularly vulnerable to fire, like Sherwood Pines Forest Park, near Clipstone, warning about the dangers and banning all naked flames.
It is hoped the signs will remind people to take care when disposing of cigarette ends, as well as deter would-be arsonists from setting fires that can get out of control.
The project has been launched by Mansfield community safety advocate Rachael Banks and Station Manager Mark Dooley, and could be rolled out across the county.
“Fires in forests or on remote heathland can be a big problem for our firefighters, especially when the weather has been very dry,” Rachael said.
“Fires can start and spread very quickly, and the crews can’t always access the area with a fire engine or see where the nearest ponds and lakes are for water.
“But by having access to information from a range of associated organisations, our crews will know the best place to access the area, where the nearest water supplies are and what the land is used for.
“This will enable them to fight the fires more efficiently and effectively, which will reduce the amount of damage to the area and the effect on wildlife.”
The information being shared also includes details of the best access points so fire crews can get as close to the fire as possible, the location of hydrants and where there are overhead power lines or livestock present. It will be fed directly to fire crews via the Vehicle Mobile Data Terminals on fire engines.
Rachael said the fire service was still working hard to ensure these fires don’t take happen in the first place.
“We would urge everyone to take extra care when out and about in the countryside this summer to ensure cigarettes and barbecues are extinguished correctly, litter is cleared away and fires are never started deliberately,” she said.
Also involved in the project are Nottinghamshire Police, the county council, Sherwood Forest Trust, Natural England and the Wildlife Trust.