Summer fire safety warning

22 July 2010, 06:00

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue are concerned about accidental fires starting in the countryside this summer.

Firefighters from Cinderford have already responded to 13 fires in the Haywood Plantation this summer, believed to have been caused by campfires, disposable barbecues that have not been properly put out and discarded cigarettes.

They say none of the fires have been serious so far, but there is the potential for a serious forest fire to develop.

Tips for camping and caravanning

· Allow at least six metres spacing between tents and caravans and ensure they are away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading

· Never smoke or use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.

· Keep cooking appliances away from the tent walls and never cook inside a small tent or near flammable materials or long grass; they can all set alight easily.

· Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there’s a fire and how to put out clothing that’s on fire – stop, drop and roll.

· Fit and test a smoke alarm in your caravan – optical alarms are most effective.

· Take special care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended – and turn off all appliances before you go out or to bed.

· In a caravan, make sure ashtrays are made of a material that can’t burn or topple over and never smoke in bed.

· Don’t dry clothes over the stove.

· Remove litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.

· Make sure the caravan is ventilated, and never block air vents to avoid a build up of poisonous gases.

Tips for open fires and barbecues

· It should be downwind, at least 10 metres from the tent.

· Clear dry vegetation to form a circle of earth around the fire and build a stack that will collapse inwards whilst burning.

· Do not leave fires or barbecues unattended and make sure they are fully extinguished.

· Only light barbecues in designated sites and don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire.

If a fire does start the advice is to call the fire and rescue service and give the exact location, if possible with a map reference. If you don’t have this, then a landmark such as a farm or pub will help. Leave the area as quickly as possible and do not return unless the firefighters tell you that it is safe to do so.

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