Protect woodland: better to prevent than to put out
What to do in the event of a forest fire?
How should I look after the area close to my house?

  • Don’t throw away any rubbish or item that can cause sparks or flames (fireworks, cigarette butts etc.)
  • Don’t burn any waste or have any barbecues (unless made of brick, closed in three walls and with spark arrestors) within 500 metres of a wood or forest, from 15 March to 15 October.

 

  • Call 112 and provide as much information as you can.
  • If you have the My112 mobile app, you can be located through your call.

If you're at home:

  • You're safest staying at home (ground floor)
  • If there is a lot of smoke around you, stretch out on the floor, and cover your breathing passages and eyes with a damp handkerchief or cloth.
  • If you’ve time, remove any inflammable material from around and inside the house (especially from doors and windows)
  • Dampen towels or clothing with water to use for covering holes
  • Turn off the taps for gas and any other types of fuel.

If you're in a street/wood:

  • Don’t seek refuge in caves or wells.
  • Leave away from the direction of the smoke and avoid steep slopes or narrow valleys.
  • Enter an area that has already burnt and keep far away from any plants not yet burnt.

If you’re in a car and cannot drive away:

  • Stop at a point with the least possible vegetation, close all the doors and windows, turn off the air-conditioning and leave the lights on.
  • Switch on the internal air recirculation.

There are many advantages to living close to woodland but it also means your house may be more vulnerable to forest fires. Look after the area around your house to make it less vulnerable to damage by fire:

  • Do not use perimeter fencing made from synthetic materials, or from natural materials such as heather brushwood or cypress wood. Prioritise enclosures made from non-flammable materials (stone, brick, etc.).
  • Regularly remove any dead plants in the garden (pine needles, branches, leaves etc.,) and keep the place clean and tidy
  • Keep a minimum 2-metre-wide perimeter around your house free of any plants and plant remains. Make sure any tree branches are at least 6 metres away from your home. Avoid using climbing plants on your home façade.
  • Plant non-flammable species in your garden. Pine trees, palm trees, cypress trees and heathers are all examples of highly inflammable species that need to be kept away from your home’s immediate surroundings.
  • Keep reserves of firewood and other inflammable materials (gas cannisters, oil tanks, etc.,) away from your house. Leave them in properly ventilated and protected enclosures far away from your house, ideally in an area free of vegetation.
  • Make sure you have a hosepipe available which is long enough to reach around the whole of your house.
  • Avoid accumulations of plant-based fuels and the like on terraces or in gutters or drainpipes. These should be regularly checked, and cleared if necessary.

Isolated houses or houses surrounded by woodland:

  • Keep approach paths clear and accessible for emergency vehicles..
  • Maintain a buffer zone of at least 25 metres around your house. This needs to be an area with a cleared undergrowth, trees pruned to a height of 3 metres and a minimum distance of 6 metres between trees and between trees and the walls of your house.

Housing developments:

  • Don't park in narrow streets or street turns or anywhere else that may get in the way of passing emergency vehicles.
  • Read up on your development’s self-protection plan, in particular its established safe zones and evacuation routes, and follow the instructions given.
  • There has to be a minimum 25-metre buffer zone around the housing development. This buffer zone must have the same features as the buffer zones around isolated houses. The housing development’s interior land plots must be kept clean under the same criteria. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of the development’s house owners, so you will need to ask the administrators to rectify any non-compliance.