The Don’t Burn Bernie Educational Tour is part of a SWFRS social marketing campaign which aims to reduce the incidence of deliberate grass fires through changing people’s attitudes, knowledge and behavior. The strapline is ‘Grass is Green – Fire is Mean.’ Bernie is a well established Brand used by the SWFRS and other stakeholders to deliver common messages across the area.
Working with SWFRS PONT has taken the Grazing is Amazing message out to new audiences. Visiting 11 schools on the don’t Burn Bernie Educational Tour gave children the chance to learn how grazing animals are threatened when people set fire to the hillside.
Children take messages home and so parents also learn about the devastating impact of grass fires on livestock and wildlife. PONT took along two orphan lambs allowing children to get up close to a real animal and experience bottle feeding often for the first time.
PONT continues to work with the SWFRS including teaming up a the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and joining the Wales Arson Group.
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS)
PONT works hard to facilitate and encourage grazing on semi natural habitats to benefit nature but also as a way of addressing other issues faced by local people.
Increasingly intense and widespread grass fires put communities in danger and threaten many aspects of people’s lives. PONT and the SWFRS saw an opportunity for joint messaging and so they teamed up to deliver these important messages about the dangers of wild fires local school children.
This was undertaken as part of the Don’t Burn Bernie Educational Tour. Working with the SWFRS has been hugely beneficial as staff have been able to share knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm as well as helping each other to take their messages to new audiences.
The SWFRS need to tackle the potentially life threatening deliberate grass fires in South Wales and PONT would like to see increased grazing on some of the high risk habitats to enhance biodiversity, heritage and landscape.
By teaming up with the SWFRS they have been able to double their efforts to address the cause of these fires through joint messaging. The introduction of grazing can reduce the fire load and so when a fire is started it is less likely to spread. Livestock and people also act as a deterrent to arsonists
Economic benefits arise from the prevention of damage and also by potentially opening up new areas for recreational use. In general land that has previously being abandoned and is bought back into active management is more attractive to a wider range of users with more diverse flora and fauna.
Natural Resource Benefits
PONT is keen to raise awareness of the importance of grazing for reducing the risk of grass fires and therefore the threat to livestock, wildlife and also soils, water and other ecosystem services. Add to this the value of conservation grazing as a sustainable management tool and the significant benefits to the environment of joint working become obvious.
Working with SWFRS helps deliver the grazing is amazing message. Taking our joint messages out to communities in a practical way helps promote livestock grazing as a positive measure. The aim is reduce the risk of deliberate grass fires while also helping nature to thrive and other aspects of the environment such as soil and water quality to improve.