Friday, 30 March 2012

Reducing the risk of wildfire

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is urging members of the public to take care during this current spell of dry weather as every year fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats.

Alex Bennett, CFOA Lead on Wildfire said: “We are currently experiencing some delightful weather and it is only natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy it with family and friends but it is also important to stay fire-aware when out and about.

“With the dry weather set to continue into the Easter Holiday period we are asking the public to be vigilant and by following these few simple steps we can all help to reduce the chance of a wildfire, he added:”

  • Extinguish cigarettes properly; don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows.
  • Take your rubbish with you, especially glass bottles, which can magnify the sun's rays and start a fire as well as hurt people and animals.
  • Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe designated areas.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately by dialling 999. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident. 
  • Landowners and Land Managers are also advised, where possible, to ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.

Steve Wight, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Community Safety Team Leader, added: “We would also ask people to be extra cautious when lighting barbeques and bonfires. If you must have an open fire, please follow this safety advice:”

  • Only use barbeques in a suitable and safe area, never leave them unattended.
  • Never use petrol, it can ignite quickly and soon get out of control. Only use approved lighting fuels.
  • Make sure it is downwind and at least 10 metres away from any buildings or structures.
  • Clear dry vegetation, such as leaves, to form a circle of earth around the fire.
  • Never leave fires unattended and make sure they are fully extinguished after use.

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