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wildfireAn amber wildfire alert has been issued for parts of the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service area for the coming weekend. In some local areas temperatures are expected to reach 29°C or even higher this Friday.

The warning means a higher-than-usual risk of a wildfire starting. Should such a fire happen, it could spread quickly and easily due to the current warm conditions, says the emergency service.

As seen with recent incidents on Canford Heath, not only do they cause devastation to heath, woodland and wildlife but they also put the public and homes at risk, the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service  said.

Area Manager Damien Bence said: ‘With a period of hot weather underway, we would urge people to take real care when enjoying the sunshine in our beautiful countryside. If you’re visiting our heathlands, woodlands or countryside, please avoid having a campfire and take a picnic rather than use a disposable barbecue – just a few simple steps can make a real difference to preventing fires from starting.”

He added: ‘We’d also remind people to take care if having a barbecue or bonfire at home. All too often, we see property destroyed when an initially small fire suddenly gets out of control. Never leave a bonfire or barbecue unattended, and site them well away from fences, trees or buildings.’

Anyone enjoying the outdoors over the coming days is asked to follow these fire safety top tips:

  • Don’t have barbecues or campfires on the heath or in open spaces; the risk of a fire starting is too great.
  • Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows – take your litter home.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, get to a safe place and call 999 to report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Please provide as much detail as possible about location and if necessary, use the What3Words app and wait for help to arrive.
  • Landowners and land managers are advised to be prepared for fires, where possible, and ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained, with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.
  • If you’re having a bonfire at home, have a garden hose to hand in case it starts to get out of control, and never use petrol or another accelerant to get it started.
  • Barbecue coals stay hot for hours, so douse them with water and don’t dispose of them in a plastic wheelie bin until you can be absolutely sure they are cold.

More information on enjoying outdoors but staying fire safe can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/safety-outdoors

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