Date: 14th May, 2020
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning the public to stay safe and vigilant over the next 10 days following an AMBER Wildfire Alert.
It is anticipated that whilst many people will be sensibly practising ‘Social Distancing’ at the moment, many people will also be drawn to the beautiful local countryside during spells of nice weather. The dry easterly winds, very low relative humidity, and dry heathland vegetation makes the risk of wildfire very high.
Every year, wildfire destroys thousands of acres of countryside, and although some are started deliberately, most of them are due to carelessness. DWFRS are asking for the public’s help in ensuring their resources can be used for the vital support of communities by taking particular care during this time.
Area Manager Seth Why said: “Large wildfires can be very serious and quickly affect large areas of the countryside. They also take a great deal of resources to bring under control, which can impact the availability of fire appliances for property fires, road traffic collisions, assisting our colleagues during the Coronavirus pandemic and other emergencies.
We are currently experiencing dry weather and it is only natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy it with members of your household, but it is also important to stay fire-aware when out and about. With the AMBER Wildfire Alert set to be in place for at least the next 10 days, we are asking the public to be vigilant and follow these simple steps to help reduce the chance of a wildfire in the countryside.”
Staying Safe Do’s & Don’ts:
- Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows – take your litter home.
- Please avoid having BBQs on the heath or in open spaces. If you must have a BBQ, please ensure it is fully extinguished when you are finished and take all your rubbish away with you (including the BBQ!)
- Avoid open fires in the countryside. If you must have them, then ensure they are fully extinguished before leaving them unattended.
- 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 and Rescue Service:
- Get to a safe place,
- note the fire location,
- call 999,
- meet the Fire and Rescue Service at the entrance.
- Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.
Landowners and Land Managers are also advised, where possible, to be prepared for fires and ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.