Date: 12th July, 2019
With another weekend of warm weather approaching, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is again reminding people to do all they can to avoid the risk of starting a heath fire.
Group Manager Richard Coleman said: “It’s completely natural to go outside when it’s sunny and to enjoy time with family and friends, maybe with a barbecue or campfire. All we ask is that, if you’re planning to do that, please make sure that you’re in a safe area and the ashes are completely cold and damped down before you leave.”
He added: “Large wildfires are thankfully rare but, when they do occur, they take a great deal of resources to bring under control, which impacts the availability of our appliances for property fires and other emergencies. The damage to local wildlife is also significant, often destroying ecosystems that have taken years to build up.”
Another risk that the Service asks people to be aware of is bonfires in the garden, which should never be left unattended. Bonfires should never be built up next to property, fences, trees and garden structures, and it’s best to have a garden hose to hand in case the fire does start to get out of control – although, if this does happen, you should also ring 999.
The Service has the following advice for enjoying the outdoors safely:
- Avoid open fires in the countryside. If you must have a fire, make sure that you’re in a designated safe area.
- Don’t throw cigarette ends or matches out of your vehicle, or drop them on the ground while walking. They could start a fire and destroy surrounding countryside.
- Never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to start a bonfire.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately. Don’t tackle a fire yourself, unless it can be put out with a bucket of water. Please call 999 and then move to safety.
- If you’re intending to have a large bonfire, please advise Fire Control on 0306 799 0019 or use the form on our website – we often receive emergency calls from people who can see lots of smoke, and it helps us to know where this could be a controlled burn.
- Ensure that you know your location or a landmark so you can direct the fire service.
- Make sure you know the Countryside Code – www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code
More information can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/heath-fires