Fire safety advice for summer days outdoors

Thu 28 Jun, 2018



With the summer holidays fast approaching, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is urging people not to drop their guard against the risk of fire.

Community safety manager Joanne Cook said: “Whether you are planning to go camping or caravanning, or simply looking forward to spending more time outdoors, we want everyone to have a good time without falling foul of seasonal risks."

Joanne offered the following tips:

Outdoor fires

  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows or drop them on the ground – they could start a fire and ruin surrounding countryside.

  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.

  • Please take care with disposable barbecues when you have finished with them. They should not be placed directly on to grass or a flammable surface, and they must be completely cold before you dispose of them. More information about barbecues here.

  • We do not recommend the use of sky lanterns, also know as flying lanterns and Chinese lanterns. They are often made of paper, wire and bamboo and contain a lit candle, and can rise to more than 1,000 feet, fly for up to 20 minutes and float for miles before landing. You can’t control the direction they take or where they will land, and there is no guarantee that the fuel source will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern lands.

  • Make sure you follow the Countryside Code. To find out more, click here.

If a fire should break out or you discover a fire:

  • Don't be tempted to investigate. Leave the area as quickly as possible and ring 999 for the fire and rescue service.

  • Give the exact location. If possible, give a map reference. If this is not possible, a landmark such as a farm or pub will help firefighters locate you.

  • Do not return to the area unless firefighters tell you that it is safe to do so.

If you must have an open fire or camp fire:

  • Clear away dry vegetation and leaves to form a circle of earth around the fire.

  • Build a stack that will collapse inwards while burning.

  • Don't leave fires unattended, and make sure that fires are fully extinguished after use.

  • If you are camping, the fire should be downwind, at least 10 metres from the tent.

Tents and caravans

  • Allow a gap of at least six metres between tents and caravans and ensure they are away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading.

  • Never take a smouldering or lit barbecue inside a tent. Even if you have finished cooking, your barbecue should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use. (Click here for more information about barbecues).

  • Don’t smoke inside tents, and never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.

  • Keep cooking appliances away from the tent walls, and never cook inside a small tent or near flammable materials or long grass.

  • Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there’s a fire.

  • Make sure everyone knows how to put out clothing that’s on fire. Stop, drop and roll, as running will fan the flames.

  • Fit and test a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm in your caravan.

  • Take special care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended.

  • Turn off all appliances before you go out or to bed.

  • Don’t dry clothes over the stove.

  • Don’t store fuel under the caravan. Remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.

  • Make sure the caravan is ventilated, and never block air vents.


  • See also: Fire Safety Outdoors booklet | Fire Safety Outdoors A4 flyer