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Forest fire – what do I do?

08.11.2012 14:13

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If you discover a forest fire, you should follow this advice:

Alert the fire service – dial emergency number 110
Tell them who you are and how you can be contacted. Explain where the fire is burning as accurately as possible. If appropriate, you can meet the fire brigade and show them the way to the fire location.


Start extinguishing the fire, if possible
You can make an effective tool by chopping down a small tree, about two metres tall. Remove branches from the bottom up until just a tuft remains at the top. Use the tree like a broom and sweep the flames back into the fire area. This is very effective on burning organic matter. It is important that you do not beat the flames. It is less effective and in the worst case; it can cause the flames to flare up. You can also use sand or blankets to suffocate the flames. If you have access to water close to the fire area, both garden hoses, watering cans and buckets can help do the job.


Spread out fire fighting efforts along the flanks of the fire
Force the flames down to a single point until the fire goes out.


Make sure to keep watch and ensure adequate post-extinguishing
During a forest fire, the fire can burn in soil, tree stumps, ant-hills and other organic material. Even if the fire appears to be out, the wind can cause it to flare up again. Therefore, it is important that the area is monitored and post-extinguishing work must be done. Pay particular attention if wind is forecast or expected to increase in force.


Extinguishing forest fires is dangerous work
Be extremely careful and never take chances! Do not remain in locations where there is a risk that flames could surround you.