Each winter 31KM of fire defendable lines or access routes are cut on the Borough's heaths.
On each site the Council assesses where the lines should be cut and this is approved in conjunction with Natural England. The lines assist the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) by ensuring that they:
- Reduce the damage done by heathland fires, whether it is to slow the spread of fire across the heath, particularly side or back burn, rather than the front of the fire.
- Rreduce the risk of damage to neighbouring properties.
- Increase the safety of fire crews when fighting a fire and provides them with access by foot or vehicle.
Fire Defendable Lines range from 1.5m in width, where vegetation is cut along footpaths to 3m in width along tracks to provide fire access routes. Wider cuts are also made beside property lines where a house (not boundary) wall is close to, if not actually next to the site.
Close to property lines or on main fire access routes it may also be necessary to reduce the height of vegetation next to the fire defendable line. This includes tall stands of gorse or trees. We make sure they are not left to grow up so they do not compromise the fire defendable line.
Wherever possible we ensure that the wildlife benefits from fire management. Short vegetation can encourage:
- Basking reptiles.
- Provision (away from paths) for ground nesting birds.
- Egg laying on bare sand for reptile and invertebrate species.