Fire defendable lines

Each winter we cut 31KM of fire defendable lines or access routes on Poole's heathland.

On each site we assess 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:

  • reducing 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
  • reducing the risk of damage to neighbouring properties
  • increasing 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 we sometimes need to reduce the height of growth next to the fire defendable lines. 

Gorse or trees sometimes have to be cut if they are too tall. We make sure they are not left to grow up so they do not affect the fire defendable line.

Wherever possible we ensure that the wildlife benefits from fire management. Short vegetation can encourage:

  • basking reptiles
  • opportunities (away from paths) for ground nesting birds
  • egg laying on bare sand for reptile and invertebrate species
Page last updated: 29 January 2019
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