Warm Weather Warning from Berkshire Fire

28 March 2012, 07:06 | Updated: 28 March 2012, 12:07

With unusually warm weather across the Thames valley this March Berkshire's Fire service is warning people about how quickly wildfires can start.

The service says every year fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats.

It was during the dry, hot weather last Easter that saw wildfires destroy a large part of Swinley Forest in Bracknell.

RBFRS has given out these tips to reduce the risk of a fire starting.

  • Always extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly
  • Never throw lit cigarette ends out of car windows
  • Avoid open fires in the countryside. Only use barbecues in safe, designated areas and never leave them unattended
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass lying around. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately

If you plan to make the most of the warm weather by having a barbecue, keep yourself and your friends and family safe by following these precautions:

  • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area
  • If you have a gas barbecue, always store cylinders outside
  • Use only approved lighter fuels – never petrol or paraffin – and only use on cold coals
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is fully extinguished and cold before disposing of the contents
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot they can melt the plastic and start a fire

Paul Jacques, Group Manager for Prevention at RBFRS, said: 

“It’s great to make the most of this unexpectedly warm weather by spending time outdoors but it’s also important to remember that fire safety doesn’t stop when you leave the house.

"By taking just a few simple steps, you can help to protect the countryside and keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fire.”