Denmark: Fire Drill and Nature Preservation Combined (IFFN No. 10 – January 1994)


Fire Drill and Nature PreservationCombined

(IFFN No. 10 – January 1994, p. 9-10)


In the summer of 1989 a fire burned a large area of a protected moor near the tip of Jutland, Denmark. As this turned out to benefit the moorland vegetation, especially the heather, the county office in charge of landscape management decided to burn off another area in the spring of 1993. The prescribed fire would also serve as fire drill in connection with a general fire contingency plan for moors and plantations.


The area which was burned is private. Under restrictions of a conservation act it has to be preserved as a moor. However, pine trees have invaded the site, and the heather became overmature, i.e. thin on top and with a woody growth. Before the fire the pine trees had been felled and piled in rows. To reduce damage to the wildlife the burning was done before April. The fire was started in late afternoon, so that the firefighters would get experience of working in the dark. The fire crew consisted of members of the civil defence, the local fire brigades, and the nearby air base, plus tractor drivers from the National Forest and Nature Agency. Several forest districts of Northern and Western Jutland, which in dry summers are often affected by fires, sent observers.

The Burning

On the day of the fire a strong western wind meant that in spite of a clear sky there were some difficulties getting the fire going. Furthermore, the ground and vegetation were rather wet. Towards evening the wind calmed, and the fire gained — so much so that in one place it nearly escaped the planned boundary.

The fire was controlled by fire beaters, tractors, and fire hoses, the latter being also used to wet the ground around the burning area. In the days after the main fire the remains of the pine trees were pushed together and burnt.

Experience gained. Generally, the result of the fire was considered satisfactory. The communication and cooperation between the various organizations involved went well. The experience showed that fire figthers along the side of the fire needed smoke masks, and that having traffic across the fire area did not work.

The future development of the area is to be monitored by botanists. The overall impression of the event was so positive, that another fire drill will probably be held next year.

Source: I.Salomon. 1993. Brandovelse komineret med naturpleje. Skoven 6-7: 274-275.– Summarized by:


Iben M.Thomson
Danish Forest and Landscape Research Institute
Skovbrynet 16
DK – 2800 Lyngby


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