Firefighters and officers are urging residents who might be out and about this Easter to respect, protect and enjoy our outdoor spaces to prevent wildfires.
As the weather gets warmer and the daylight hours get longer, firefighters start to see an increase in fires in our outdoor spaces. In 2020, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service crews dealt with 446 wildfires.
Group Manager Darren Langdown 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.
“As the weather warms up and we look forward to the reduction of Coronavirus restrictions, it is only natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy our beautiful countryside.
“It is extremely important to stay fire-aware when out and about. We are asking the public to be vigilant and follow some simple steps to help reduce the chance of a wildfire in the countryside.”
With the easing of Coronavirus restrictions, from today 29th March up to six people or two households can meet outdoors, DWFRS is reminding the residents to #RespectProtectEnjoy the countryside.
The service has the following advice for enjoying the outdoors safely:
- When considering having a fire on your own land, please ensure it is fully extinguished before leaving it unattended.
- Avoid open fires in the countryside.
- Avoid having BBQs on the heath or in open spaces
- Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows – take your litter home.
- Site bonfires well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures.
- Have a garden hose to hand in case the fire starts to get out of control.
- Never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to start a bonfire.
- Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Take the items home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident.
- If you’re intending to have a large bonfire, please advise Fire Control on 0306 799 0019 or use the form on this website – they often receive emergency calls from people who can see lots of smoke, and it helps them 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
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.