Make sure you are fire smart when you’re outdoors
Following the recent period of dry weather we are urging people to protect the countryside by being careful not to start or cause a fire through carelessness.
A few days of warm weather can dry out vegetation so grass verges, crop fields and woodland can easily catch light if people are careless with cigarettes or don't extinguish fires or barbecues properly. Fires of this type can rapidly spread out of control, putting peoples’ lives, wildlife and property at risk.
Nigel Wilson, Area Operations Manager for Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue Service said: “During warmer weather, forest, grass and crop fires can be serious problem for the Service and tie up a huge amount of our valuable firefighting resources. Even if we have short periods of rain, the ground is still unusually dry for this time of year and vulnerable to fire.”
“We are encouraging people to take care and think about what they’re doing. Drivers should refrain from discarding cigarettes through car windows while driving along as this can easily set fire to grass verges, with the potential to develop into a significant fire.”
“Another major problem, as experienced recently by other Fire & Rescue Services is people deliberately setting fires. This has the potential for extremely serious consequences and may even put lives at risk”.
By following these important safety tips people can help to prevent fires starting in the first place:
- extinguish cigarettes properly and don’t throw the cigarette end on the ground
- never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
- avoid using open fires in the countryside
- don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires - take them home and or put them in a waste or recycling bin
- extinguish bonfires and barbecues properly – make sure they are out
- don’t accumulate rubbish which can act as a potential fuel for deliberate fire setters
- only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended
- if you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the Fire and Rescue Service immediately
- don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible