In the logging sector, fire is a feared occurrence, yet far too frequently, people are unaware of how fires’ presence can damage the forest or how the likelihood of outbreaks can be decreased. Hannu Sartovuo, vice president of Dafo Vehicle, discusses risks in the industry, the importance of proactive suppression and whether there’s anything the UK can learn from Sweden.

MORE than ever, the Scottish timber sector is conscious of the consequences of wildfires. Severe fires in Inverness this summer have led to drifting smoke and forced downtime, which has negatively affected the industry, the economy and the environment.

Although an increase in the amount of drying organic matter in forests, brought on by increased temperatures because of climate change, has led to more wildfires in Scotland, it is not the only factor.

According to research, more than 60 per cent of wildfires in the UK are started by people, which means that a significant amount of harm to the economy and ecology can be avoided. Therefore, it’s crucial for anyone working in the timber business to grasp the fire dangers associated with their own work and how to avoid their frequently disastrous results.


Working in the forestry sector frequently entails working by yourself in challenging and remote environments. One of the biggest dangers that forestry machine owners and operators must deal with is fire.

Fire risks in the industry come from the high temperatures of vehicles and the amount of combustible material that is carried by the industrial machinery. Around the vehicles, this material frequently builds up, providing ideal tinder and increasing the risk of fires starting. This means that a single spark can quickly start an intense fire.

When a fire starts in a commercial woodland, it’s likely that more flammable materials — such as wood chips, sawdust and forest trees — will add fuel to fire. Because of the enormous amount of fuel in a forest, which becomes more and more dry as temperatures rise, it may take days or even weeks to extinguish a fire. As a result, a fire doesn’t simply harm the individual’s vehicle or the region they’re working in; it can also disrupt the whole industry and harm the environment by destroying ecosystems.

Due to the elevated risks, individuals need to take more precautions than simply using vehicles for short amounts of time to reduce the occurrence of a flame. Instead, they should think about proactive fleet protection.


Forestry Journal: Sweden, for instance, is one of the nations with the most sophisticated fire safety regulations Sweden, for instance, is one of the nations with the most sophisticated fire safety regulations (Image: Supplied)

Despite the seriousness of the fire risks associated with the timber sector, different countries have different laws governing forestry, peat, and chipping equipment.

Sweden, for instance, is one of the nations with the most sophisticated fire safety regulations and is the second-largest supplier of pulp, paper, and sawn wood products worldwide. The total annual burned area of forest hasn’t exceeded 5,000 ha since the 1950s, even though more than a quarter of the country’s territory is covered in forest – and this coverage is growing.

There is greater pressure to reduce the dangers of fires before they start because the timber industry is so important to Sweden’s economy, supporting 200,000 jobs there. As a result of Swedish insurers’ requirements that on-board fire-suppression systems be installed on all forestry, peat and chipping machinery, the nation has emerged as a global leader in fire safety, with knowledge that other countries should learn from to reduce risks and fire globally.

This intense scrutiny means that Sweden’s forests are protected by a combination of fire-suppression systems, such as the Dafo Vehicle fire-suppression systems, and rigorous legislation.


Early detection is essential for protecting vehicles and the forest. The most major fire risks in forestry vehicles are caused by either the engine or the hydraulic, fuel and electric systems. As a result, fire suppression-strategies must evaluate these specific areas in order to successfully prevent disaster through the use of technology such as temperature sensors.

When a vehicle reaches 180 degrees, for instance, the linear heat detector wire – which is part of the temperature sensors on the Dafo vehicle suppression system – activate by releasing a non-corrosive, environmentally-friendly suppressant. Simultaneously with the discharge of this suppressant, the driver is alerted to ensure everything – people, forest, machinery and the environment – stays safe as the fire is extinguished – before it can cause any serious damage.


Many industries are turning towards electric vehicles (EVs) to power their operations as they search for environmentally-friendly ways to move goods. 

This transformation is currently infeasible for the forestry sector because it is difficult to keep EVs charged while using them in remote locations. However, it’s critical that fire suppression stays at the forefront of industry thinking as some businesses consider using hybrid and electric options in the sector.

READ MORE: Dominic von Trotha Taylor: Here is how we can combat illegal logging

Lithium-ion batteries provide additional dangers including thermal runaway, which can produce its own source of oxygen, making the risks in the timber sector considerably more severe as engines change and grow in popularity. Individuals will need to ensure their automobiles are completely safeguarded for these new threats while the industry waits for legislation to catch up with technological advancements.

To find out more about how you could protect your vehicles in harsh environments, visit