The Countryside Alliance has launched a new awareness campaign on wildfires, using two Northumberland case studies.
Wildfires have the capability to devastate farmland, wildlife and protected habitats, as well as the lives of people living and working in rural communities.
The risk in springtime is particularly prevalent as dead vegetation left over from the winter, higher temperatures and lower humidity levels can come together with deadly effect.
The Countryside Alliance wishes to raise the awareness of the risk and potential damage of wildfires, and educate on the measures that can be taken to reduce those risks.
Wildfires in the UK are fortunately few and far between; however, their ability to start in rural locations under difficult conditions adds a risk for which rural fire and rescue services have to be prepared.
Successful partnerships and groups have been formed in high-risk areas with great success to promote cooperation and collaboration on wildfire issues.
Two Northumberland initiatives have been highlighted as case studies for the new campaign.
The Northumberland Fire Group, which was formed in 2005, was one of the first multi-agency partnerships set up in the UK to deal with wildfires.
It delivers a range of activities to protect rural communities, the rural economy and the natural environment in the county.
Meanwhile, the Northumberland Collaborative Burning Project sees partner organisations share best practice, knowledge and expertise in reducing the potential risks through prescribed wildfires.
Jack Knott, Countryside Alliance campaigns manager, said: “Wildfires can have potentially devastating impacts on farming and local communities, wildlife and protected habitats. It is essential that all steps are taken to reduce the risk, this includes increasing education for those that enjoy our beautiful countryside.”
He added: “Remaining vigilant, especially during spells of hot dry weather, while enjoying the British countryside is essential. Furthermore, disposing of litter correctly, in particularly smoking materials, can help prevent wildfires.”