Countryside lovers are being urged to take care and stay alert during this period of warm weather, especially after the recent wildfires in Nutley, the Ashdown Forest and Lydd.
Every year, wildfire destroys thousands of acres of countryside, and although some are started deliberately, most of them are due to carelessness. Occasionally they can also be started by lightning strikes.
With the current hot spell and a yellow Met Office warning about thunderstorms, the risks of wildfires are higher than usual.
Station Manager Fleur Wilks is the Service’s lead for Wildfires.
“Wildfires have the capability to devastate farmland, wildlife and also pose a risk to the lives of people living and working in rural and adjacent communities.
Steps can be taken to prevent fires in the open, such as not throwing cigarettes out of car windows, as well as being careful with BBQs and not discarding glass.
Following the Countryside Code could help prevent a damaging fire and if you see anything please contact 999 immediately.”
The National Wildlife Group Website also has a wealth of information to protect both our countryside and wildlife. For example:
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside
- Sunlight shining through glass can start large fires - take glass bottles/jars home or put them in a waste or recycling bin
- Try to avoid lighting bonfires as they produce embers that can travel through the air over long distances
- Keep young children and ball games away from barbecues
- Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly
- Only use barbecues in suitable and safe areas and never leave them unattended
- Ensure that your barbecue is fully extinguished and cold before disposing of the contents
- Only camp and picnic in designated areas
- Obey safety signs
- Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows - they can ruin whole fields of crops
Members of the public enjoying the countryside should be aware of their location and any nearby landmarks so they can help direct emergency services to any incidents.
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.