Date: 30th August, 2019
As we enter the last weekend of the school summer holidays, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) is reminding people to take care around heathland.
Yesterday (29 August), the Service dealt with two incidents involving heath on fire. The first, at Ham Common, Hamworthy, led to heat damaging five caravans at the adjacent Rockley Park caravan park; the second was at East Overcliff, Bournemouth, and was witnessed by the crowds gathered for Bournemouth Air Festival.
Group Manager Steve Waller said: “Heath fires require multiple crews to tackle them, and they can spread rapidly, as we saw at Rockley Park. When the weather is dry and warm, the risks increase.
“This weekend will see thousands of people out and about for the end of the school holidays and to watch the Air Festival – we would therefore ask everyone to take extra care when using portable barbecues, disposing of cigarettes and matches, or having any kind of camp fire. Please also keep an eye out for anyone messing around with fire and report it immediately if you do see something suspicious.”
Other top tips from the Service for preventing fire outdoors include:
- Avoid open fires in the countryside. If you must have a fire, make sure that you’re in a designated safe area.
- Put out cigarettes and other smoking materials properly before you leave your vehicle.
- Do not throw cigarette ends out of your vehicle. They could start a fire and destroy surrounding countryside.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately. Do not tackle a fire yourself, unless it can be put out with a bucket of water. Please call the fire service and leave the area as soon as possible.
- Ensure that you know your location or a landmark so you can direct the fire service.
More advice can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/safety-outdoors
NB: The fire at Ham Common is believed to have started accidentally due to discarded smoking materials. The fire at East Overcliff is thought to have been deliberate and anyone who saw anything suspicious is asked to contact Dorset Police on 101.