Firefighters in Northumberland are asking everyone to take extra care in the countryside this summer due to the increased risks of wildfire during the drier months.
Every year, fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside, and although some are started deliberately, most wildfires are caused by carelessness.
Northumberland County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service are working with Northumberland National Park to prevent and tackle wildfire risks.
The National Park has presented the Fire and Rescue Service with new tools to tackle wildfires, anticipating the increased risks this summer.
There are a few simple precautions residents can take to reduce the chance of wildfires, for instance extinguishing cigarettes properly and never throwing cigarette ends on the ground or out of the car.
Anyone having a bonfire or barbeque should only do so in a designated area and never in the open countryside. Open fires should always be lit downwind and at least ten metres away from any buildings or structures.
Chief Fire Officer Alex Bennett said: “We are currently experiencing a spell of warm weather and it is only natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy it with family and friends but it is also important to stay fire-aware when out and about.
“With the dry weather set to continue for the foreseeable period we are asking the public to be vigilant and by following a few simple steps we can all help to reduce the chance of a wildfire in the countryside.”
If a fire is detected in the countryside, it should be reported immediately to the Fire and Rescue Service by phoning 999. Early detection can prevent a fire from developing into a large and much more uncontrollable wildfire incident.
Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council Coun Dave Ledger, who also has responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, added: “I would advise people listen to the Fire and Rescue’s safety guidance to allow everyone to have an enjoyable and safe summer and to keep our beautiful countryside preserved from wildfire threats.”
For further fire safety advice call the Community Fire Safety team on 01670 621110 or visit the Fire and Rescue pages on the Northumberland County Council website at www.northumberland.gov.uk