Fire chiefs complete latest training in tackling wildfire

Fire officials have joined their European counterparts for the final time to learn more about tackling wildfires.

Friday, 2nd February 2018, 12:32 pm
Updated Monday, 5th February 2018, 16:26 pm
A simulation run for fire officers as part of the IGNIS conference held in France.

Officers from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Services were in France for the final conference for IGNIS, a European-wide wildfire training project.

The two-year IGNIS (Initiative for Global Management of big fires through Simulation) project, co-financed by the European Commission, involved four European partners, who designed and developed a wildfire simulation tool to train fire officers in the command and control of large wildfires.

The simulation tool consists of a network of computers running advanced software, which presents officers with a realistic virtual environment.

Commanders are shown what they would see at a wildfire incident, and use their knowledge, skills and experience to make informed decisions on how to effectively command the incident.

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Paul Hedley, chief fire officer, Northumberland County Council, said: “The IGNIS project has been an extremely ambitious project and some major advances have been made over a relatively short period of time.

“Working with partners across Europe has allowed us to develop a fantastic training tool that allows officers to train in wildfire management in a realistic, real-time environment.

“Following the success of the development of IGNIS, the partners were also discussing further exchanges and projects to help continue the valuable exchange of knowledge and experience following that which has taken place during the last two years.”

Coun John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for the fire and rescue service, said: “Having the ability to train for wildfire incidents is invaluable to our Fire and Rescue Service, especially as a rural fire service where wildfires are a potential risk.

“I’m proud of the work carried out by NFRS within this project and we can use this experience and knowledge to take us forward and continue to work together with colleagues across Europe.”

At the final conference, lead officers signed a Statement of Intent to continue working as a partnership over the next year to further develop simulation training for wildfire incidents.