Date: 7th September, 2021
An Amber wildfire alert has been issued for the the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service area over the next two days.
An Amber alert means that, should a wildfire be experienced, it could spread quickly and easily due to the dry conditions. The risk is greatest on large areas of open land, such as heathlands, fields and even cliffsides.
There has already been one fire this week, with an area of approx. 70m x 40m at Decoy Heath, within Wareham Forest, affected on Monday (6 September). Firefighters were called to the scene shortly before 3pm and remained on site until this morning (7 September), with Forestry England staff continuing to damp down hotspots.
Group Manager Darren Langdown said: “While the warmer weather is welcome after such a gloomy August, it does mean the ground and foliage are dry, and this can result in a greater risk of fires spreading if something happens to cause ignition. We would urge anyone going out and about in our beautiful countryside this week to take extra care and follow our advice to #BringAPicnicNotABarbecue, and to avoid having campfires on heathland or in woodlands.”
Top tips for staying fire safe while out and about include:
- Avoid having open fires or using barbecues in the countryside. Disposable barbecues and campfires are actually banned in many parts of Dorset.
- Extinguish smoking materials properly, and 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, report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident.
- When calling the Fire & Rescue Service:
- Get to a safe place
- note the fire location (apps such as What3Words can help if you’re not sure)
- call 999
- meet the Fire & Rescue Service at the access point.
- Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.
- If you’re at the beach, don’t set off flares, have campfires or light barbecues as these can easily lead to gorse and foliage on the cliffs catching fire.
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.
Farmers are urged to keep their machinery well maintained, and to follow the Service’s advice on staying fire safe, which can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/fire-risks-on-farms
More information on staying safe and enjoying outside areas whilst avoiding starting a wildfire can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/heath-fires-and-countryside-safety