Please help us reduce the risk of outdoor fires

Wed 1 Jul, 2015

After attending more than 20 outdoor fires since Monday morning (29 June), Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to take extra care during the current heatwave.

Firefighters are also asking people to follow the Countryside Code when they are out and about in all the beautiful open spaces in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

Community safety manager Richard Priest said: “Every year, fire destroys thousands of acres of the UK’s countryside and wildlife habitats. Some fires are started deliberately, but most are due to carelessness.

"Obviously you should be careful at all times of the year, but dry ground in the summer means there’s an added risk of a fire starting."

Richard is encouraging people to follow these tips:

  • Put cigarettes out properly and don’t throw them on to the ground. Take your litter home.
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of a car window. 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 and recycle them.
  • Only use barbecues in suitable, safe and permitted areas, and never leave them unattended.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, ring 999 and report it immediately. If you can, prepare for the arrival of firefighters at a pre-arranged meeting point by unlocking gates, etc.
  • Give the exact location. If it is not possible to give a map reference, a landmark such as a farm or pub will help them locate you.
  • Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water. Leave the area as quickly as possible.
  • Do not return unless firefighters tell you that it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid using open fires in the countryside. Only have them in safe designated areas.

More about open fires

If you must have an open fire:

  • It should be downwind, at least 10m from the tent.
  • Clear away dry vegetation and leaves to form a circle of earth around the fire.
  • Build a stack that will collapse inwards while burning.
  • Do not leave fires unattended.
  • Make sure that fires are fully extinguished after use.

The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code applies to all parts of the countryside and is designed to help us all to respect, protect and enjoy our countryside.

Updated in 2012, it makes it clear what the responsibilities are for both the public and the people who manage the land. It has information about rights, responsibilities and liabilities and how we all have a duty to protect the countryside.

Together with common sense, it helps to make it easy for visitors to act responsibly and identify possible dangers. Click here for more information.