Help reduce the risk of outdoor fires – dry conditions make grass a tinderbox

Fri 27 Jul, 2018


 Marlow fieldfire 2 July web.jpg

Firefighters are urging people to be more aware of the risk of grass fires while enjoying the countryside, after receiving a high number of calls in June and July. 

In 2017 the total number of “fires in the open” attended in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes during June and July was 256. This year, crews have already attended more than 384 since 1 June, with this number set to rise before the end of the month.

Avoid open fires in this hot dry weather.jpg

Community Safety & Safeguarding Manager, Joanne Cook, said: “With the unusually high temperatures over the last few weeks, we have attended a very large number of grass, woodland and field fires, fires affecting hedges and trees, and also unattended or out of control bonfires. 

“The dry conditions have also impacted on the severity of the fire once they catch hold. Residents who have witnessed large incidents, such as the field fire in Little Marlow at the beginning of the month which is pictured above, are understandably concerned about further incidents occurring as a result of exceptionally dry fields and grass near to their homes. 

However there some simple steps we can all take to help ensure risks are minimised, and everyone can continue to enjoy being outdoors.

Joanne added: “We would like to ask everyone to be aware of just how dry the environment is at the moment, and take precautions. Even the smallest of sparks could start a fire on dry grass which will act as a tinderbox. 

“Grass and field fires can spread especially quickly even in residential gardens and on verges, and what starts out as a small fire has the potential to escalate quickly. So if you see smouldering please call 999 to enable firefighters to deal with it, and stop it spreading.”

Tips to help prevent accidental grass fires:

  • - Avoid having camp fires or bonfires during this prolonged dry spell.
  • - Dispose of smoking materials such as cigarettes safely.
  • - Never leave barbecues unattended and extinguish them properly after you have finished using them. 
  • - Do not drop litter, especially glass which can magnify the sun’s rays and start a fire.
  • - Explain to children the dangers of playing with and lighting fires.

 

More topical safety advice can be found by visiting our Fire safety advice for summer days outdoors page