Impact 5
upper risk error bar
upper likelihood error bar
risk indicator
lower likelihood error bar
lower impact error bar
Impact & Likelihood
Impact key
5 Catastrophic
4 Significant
3 Moderate
2 Limited
1 Minor
Likelihood key
5 >25%
4 5-25%
3 1-5%
2 0.2-1%
1 <0.2%


A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire that burns vegetation, such as grass, heather, woodland, crops and scrubland.

Climate change is likely to lead to changes in the weather patterns that affect the UK, with longer drier summers anticipated. This could lead to drier vegetation and more frequent, larger wildfires.

Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) are required to plan for the foreseeable risks in their area, such as wildfires. Through their Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). Based on their IRMPs, FRAs determine how best to respond to identified risks. This includes local decisions on the procurement of appropriate equipment to meet these risks and help deliver for their local communities.

The Home Office is working with partners across government and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) to understand the changing risk and to improve prevention of and response to wildfires. The Home Office also takes an active role in communicating wildfire prevention messages through its Fire Kills campaign. These provide outdoor fire safety messages to communication and community safety teams within Fire and Rescue Services to support local delivery of fire prevention.


The reasonable worst-case scenario is based on a sustained and widespread extreme wildfire requiring protracted multi-agency attendance over 4 to 7 days, with a significant impact on responder resilience and business as usual activities. Evacuations would be necessary, with a high risk of casualties and/or adverse health impacts. The wildfire would cause significant disruption or damage to critical infrastructure, transport networks, utilities and the environment.

Key assumptions

Wildfires typically occur between February and October. There are differences in nature, scale and timing of the risk across the UK. Responsibility for fire and rescue services is devolved.

Response capability requirements

Fire and Rescue services would lead on the response; putting out of the fire and emergency evacuation and rescue of residents. This would include utilisation of national capabilities, for example high-volume pumps and urban search and rescue. Mutual aid from unaffected Fire and Rescue Services would be requested.


Recovery would be dependent on the location of fire and the vegetation/soil types impacted. Vegetation can take years to recover, with a sustained impact on local wildlife. If the location of the fire features peat in the soil there would be additional longer-term environmental implications due to the release
of carbon from the burning.