Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is urging the public to take extra care as the spell of dry, hot weather is forecast to continue, with only limited possibility of isolated showers. The warning follows a high number of incidents of fires in the open in the past few weeks, in this county and neighbouring counties.
The warm weather means more people are spending time outside and the dry conditions make fires start more easily. In England, on average 27,000 fires are started on grass, heathland and moorland every year. This is an average of 73 per day. RBFRS have attended over 225 outdoor fires in June and July (to date), most notably in Colnbrook, Datchet, Holyport and Little Marlow.
Jess James, RBFRS Group Manager, said: “Outdoor fires destroy large areas of countryside and affect hundreds of farms every year. These incidents often involve large numbers of crews and appliances and put a strain on resources. With the school holidays just starting, we need the public’s help to keep our communities safe. Careful preparation of activities outside and away from the home will go a long way to prevent fires.”
What you can do to prevent fires from starting
- Always have open fires in safe, designated areas. If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately.
- Don’t leave bottles or glass in the woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
- Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as soon as possible and call the fire service.
- Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – they could start a fire.
- If you are planning to have a barbeque, make sure you place it well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste. Never use a barbeque indoors or in a tent.
- Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbeques and never leave a barbeque unattended. Drinking alcohol while cooking is not recommended if you are in charge of the barbeque.
- After cooking, make sure the barbeque is cool before moving it. Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot they could melt the plastic and cause a fire.
- If you're using a disposable barbecue ensure it has cooled before putting it in the bin. To avoid starting a fire you should allow it to cool for several hours and then consider pouring water over it to make sure it's out.
For further information on how to keep safe this summer, visit www.rbfrs.co.uk/summersafety