Date: 14th April, 2022
An Amber wildfire alert has been issued for the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service area for the Easter weekend.
The warning means a higher-than-usual risk of a wildfire starting, due to the weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Should such a fire happen, it could spread quickly and easily due to the warm, dry and breezy conditions.
As seen with the major incident at Wareham Forest in 2020, wildfires take a great deal of resources and time to bring under control, and cause devastation to heath, woodland and wildlife.
Group Manager Dave Waters said: “The combination of the long Easter weekend and good weather means that people will be out and about a lot more, and we want to be sure that the local area stays as safe as it can be for everyone. If you’re visiting our heathlands, woodlands or countryside, please avoid having a campfire and take a picnic rather than use a disposable barbecue – just a few simple steps can make a real difference to preventing fire from starting.”
He added: “We’d also remind people to take care if having a barbecue or bonfire at home. All too often, we see property destroyed when an initially small fire suddenly gets out of control. Never leave a bonfire or barbecue unattended, and site them well away from fences, trees or buildings.”
If you are enjoying the sunshine over the weekend, please follow these fire safety top tips:
- Don’t have barbecues or campfires on the heath or in open spaces; the risk of a fire starting is too great.
- Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows – take your litter home.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, call 999 and report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Please provide as much detail as possible about location and access, but also make sure you are in a safe place.
- Landowners and land managers are advised to be prepared for fires, where possible, and ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained, with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.
- If you’re having a bonfire at home, have a garden hose to hand in case it starts to get out of control, and never use petrol or another accelerant to get it started.
- Barbecue coals stay hot for hours, so douse them with water and don’t dispose of them in a plastic wheelie bin until you can be absolutely sure they are cold.
More information on enjoying outdoors but staying fire safe can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/safety-outdoors