Three wildfires in England: Best practice and lessons learned.

Published online
12 Jan 2024
Published by
Natural England
Content type

Clutterbuck, B.
Contact email(s)

Publication language
England & UK


This pilot study examined wildfire events at two National Nature Reserves (NNR) and a site designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in England. The fire events examined occurred on an area of blanket bog (Winter Hill, West Pennine Moors SSSI, Lancashire; June 2018), a restored lowland raised bog (Hatfield Moors, Humberhead Peatlands NNR; May 2020), and an area of lowland heath with a valley mire (Thursley NNR, Surrey; May 2020). The spread of fire at each site was mapped using cloud-free very high-resolution (VHR) satellite imagery. Information about ignition sources, and interventions undertaken to supress and control the fires, were obtained from local site managers and supplemented with information from Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) where possible. Pre-fire environmental conditions were assessed using meteorological data and level of fire danger in the form of fire weather indices (FWI). Trends in rainfall over the past 60 years were also determined for each site. Key findings on fire source/ignition, environmental conditions, pre-fire measures, barriers and interventions, site access, and habitat affected are discussed, as well as recommendations.

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