WildfireTaC is the culmination of a lifelong passion for wildfire and the need to understand it. Andy Elliott has had two parallel careers, one in Local Government with Dorset County Council and the other in the Fire and Rescue Service for most of his working life. He was made redundant from DCC in 2018 and now has his own Wildfire Training and Consultancy business - WildfireTaC.
His local Government career started in 1984 as a Countryside Ranger where he worked all over Dorset on a wide range of countryside access and conservation projects. He was then seconded into the Geographical Information Systems team and left DCC as the GIS Manager. Since 1983 he has also been a Retained firefighter and is currently a Station Commander with Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. He is also a National Wildfire Tactical Advisor and is a member of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Wildfire Group. During this time, he has gained experience in a wide range of operational activities, but since 1998 he has been specialising in wildfires. He is a Technical Expert in Wildfires with the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
He has been involved in wildfire research in the UK, Europe and South Africa. This provides an excellent insight into several wildfire issues that could otherwise be overlooked by land managers and the FRSs. He was fortunate enough to spend a month working in the Kruger National Park in South Africa looking into ignition patterns to create different fire intensities for controlled burns. He has also worked on wildfires in the USA, most notably the Valley Fire in California during 2015. He has attended a Training Exchange TREX in, Oregon in 2016 and again in 2017 working on prescribed fires mostly in forestry plantations. While there he gained his wildfire qualifications FFT1 and FFT2. In 2019 he attended TREX Andalucia and presented on Prescribed fires for conservation. He is also an Associate Researcher at the University of Exeter within the wildFIRE Lab. Since January 2020 he has been employed by the University of Exeter as a Senior Research Fellow in Wildfire.
There was a crossover between the two roles with DCC and DWFRS as wildfire is an important aspect for both organisations. With DCC he worked closely with the Urban Heaths Partnership to map and record the impacts of wildfire on the internationally important Dorset Heaths. We are currently considering the risks posed to these habitats by climate change and the continued urbanisation of South East Dorset. Within the DWFRS area, wildfire is a growing risk and can occupy large numbers of resources which is both very expensive and could put the lives of people at risk.
Conflicts of Interest
It is important to note that any work undertaken by WildfireTaC is independent of Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and the National Fire Chiefs Council. Any potential conflicts of interest will be declared to the client, DWFRS or NFCC should they arise.