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K9 Firewise Patrols

Aug 2, 2021

This year to help look after Dorset’s precious heathlands, Firewise UK (Dorset), Dorset Dogs and the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have teamed up to launch the K9 Firewise Patrol Volunteer Scheme. If you are out and about on the heaths over the bank holiday weekend you might see our volunteers, they are easily identifiable with the dogs having eye-catching leads and bandanas.

The initiative was first run in Surrey by Thames Basin Heaths and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and is now being rolled out in Dorset by the Urban Heaths Partnership.

Heathlands in Dorset are susceptible to fire and we all have memories of the Wareham Forest fire in 2020 which devastated over 180 hectares of forest and heathland. To help prevent such fires and other anti- social behaviour regular dog walkers in the community are being asked as they walk around  the heathlands with their dog by their side to look out for signs of wildfires and report anything suspicious they see along the way.

Lin Kettley, Firewise Communities Assistant commented “Everyone can make a real difference to their local community, help to protect the rare, precious heathland and all the wildlife that call it home. We are all aware of the dangers that wildfires can do to communities, both locally and globally with the wildfires causing devastation and loss to homes, habitats and lives that are happening right now. The frustrating and tragic message is most of these wildfires are preventable with education or early detection and intervention”.

Paul Bushell, Dorset Dogs Officer commented “The scheme can really make a difference. All we are asking of dog owners and their dogs of course is to go out on their usual walks but to be a little more vigilant to the causes of some of these fires, for example BBQ’s, campfires, lanterns and any other anti-social behaviour”.

If you would like to find out more information and get involved please email Dorset Dogs at

The scheme is very flexible and after some induction training all that is asked of participants is that they record and report where they walk and anything they see that is suspicious, the dogs get provided with some eye-catching leads and bandanas to help start conversation with other walkers to promote the scheme and raise awareness to the issues and risks of wildfires.

We have some amazing volunteers, who are really making a difference with their dogs and really enjoying their walks.

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