The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW) gives the public freedom of access on mapped areas of mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land. In the North Pennines, Natural England have a power to restrict that access for the purpo
How the Fire Severity Index works
The CRoW Act gives relevant authorities the right to restrict public access where they are satisfied that, “by reason of exceptional conditions of weather or any exceptional change in the condition of the land, the exclusion or restriction is necessary for the purposes of fire prevention”. Relevant authorities are those that manage open access rights in England, and include Natural England and the Forestry Commission. The Fire Severity Index (FSI) was developed to give an objective methodology to determine when exceptional conditions occur to justify the closure of open-access land.
The FSI assesses the risk of fire in any particular area, as determined by a combination of ground and weather conditions. It was developed by the Met Office and provides an assessment (for the current day and a 5-day forecast) based on wind speed, temperature, time of year and rainfall .
The FSI is a 5-tiered scale, which rates the severity of the fire risk as follows:-
1. Very low severity
2. Low fire severity
3. Moderate fire severity
4. High fire severity
5. Exceptional fire severity
The information is updated daily and displayed on 10km x 10km map squares covering the whole of England and Wales. It is used operationally to inform decision-making and fire management on access land.
Fire prevention restrictions are applied during exceptional conditions, as determined by a FSI level 5. Once this level has been reached, access land covered by CRoW will be ‘closed’. However any access restrictions do not apply to Public Rights of Way.
How the relevant authorities choose to use this information with respect to limiting access varies. Members of the public are advised to look out for posted signage relating to fire risk, and to follow all instructions.
To view the Open Access information, click on the related link below. For Fire Severity Index maps, click on the web link below and enter location information for the area you wish to know about using place name, post code, grid reference, OS reference, county or county area.