Fire warning after dry spell

SPRING is upon us and barbecues and lazy days in the garden won't be far from people's thoughts.But sunny days and dry weather also have their hazards – with little rain, the countryside becomes like a tinder box and fire can easily take hold.

By Jessica Nicholls

SPRING is upon us and barbecues and lazy days in the garden won't be far from people's thoughts.

But sunny days and dry weather also have their hazards – with little rain, the countryside becomes like a tinder box and fire can easily take hold.

Recently at Center Parcs, fire ravaged the complex and just days later more than 100 fire fighters in Surrey were also called out after flames started ripping through a large area of Ashdown Forest near Crowborough, East Sussex.


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Now Suffolk Fire is offering advice for a safer summer and how to avoid the risks of garden and countryside fires.

Martyn Thorpe, Suffolk fire officer said that most moorland and woodland fires are caused by matches or cigarettes carelessly thrown down or by camp fires not being properly extinguished.

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Even broken glass and bottles can cause a blaze because the glass acts as a magnifying lens for the sun's rays, heating up the grass or undergrowth until it eventually catches fire.

Woodland and grass fires can be extremely dangerous, spreading quickly and often suddenly changing direction.

There are lots of ways of preventing these fires, - never throw cigarette stubs from car windows, do not play in hay or straw sacks and never use cigarettes or matches near them.

Camp fires and barbecues can also easily get out of control but there are ways to reduce the risks.

n. Never use petrol on a barbecue, only approved lighter fuels which must be applied before lighting.

n. stand portable barbecues on an even surface and make sure they are away from the house, fences or shed.

n. Whoever is chef should try not to drink too much alcohol while cooking.

n. After cooking has finished, extinguish burning charcoal and after one to three hours check the fire is out completely.

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