Wildland and countryside safety

18th August, 2016

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are asking members of the public to take care during the current warm weather as every year countless acres of countryside and wildlife habitats are destroyed by fire.

The Met Office has given Shropshire a 4 out of 5 rating for the risk of wild fire. This means the county is currently at severe risk.

Group Manager Guy Williams said “ In recent years we have seen significant wildfires in Shropshire including one at the villages of Grinshill and Clive. This fire lasted over a week and at one stage threatened both villages. This fire was caused by sunlight hitting broken glass and the resulting magnifying glass effect. The fire was fortunately contained without serious injury to the public or fire crews however the images from the first night are dramatic and the sort of thing you might expect to see in Australia or the USA.

“Most outdoor fires invariable require a negligent or careless act by a person. Some fires will occur naturally but these are generally the exception”

“ Enjoy the countryside but do it safely by:

  • Extinguish cigarettes properly, don't throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows.
  • Take your rubbish with you, especially glass bottles, which can magnify the sun's rays and start a fire as well as hurt people and animals.
  • Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe designated areas.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident.
  • If you don’t know the exact location pass on landmark details such as pub names, road signs, church names, railway lines, canals, rivers, etc.
  • Don't attempt to tackle fires that can't be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.
  • Landowners and Land Managers are also advised, where possible, to ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.
  • Remember that arson is a crime and will be prosecuted.

We would also ask people to be extra cautious when lighting barbeques and bonfires. If you must have an open fire:

Only use barbeques in suitable and safe areas, never leave them unattended.

  • Never use petrol, it can ignite quickly and soon get out of control. Only use approved lighting fuels.
  • Make sure it is downwind and at least 10 metres away from any buildings or structures.
  • Clear dry vegetation, such as leaves, to form a circle of earth around the fire.
  • Never leave fires unattended and make sure they are fully extinguished after use.

For further advice on how to enjoy the countryside safely, please click on the attachment below.

File: