Red fire severity warning for Dorset over wildfire risk – Dorset Echo

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A RED fire severity warning – the highest level possible – has been issued for the whole of Dorset for the next few days as extremely hot weather is expected to hit the area.

Residents and visitors are asked not to have barbecues or bonfires in the current long dry weather.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 180 open fires in the first 10 days of August. This is an increase of 429 percent compared to the same period last year.

The red warning means that, should a wildfire break out, it could spread quickly and easily due to the dry conditions. The risk is greatest in large areas of open land, such as moorland, fields and even cliffs.

Fire service group manager Stuart Gillion said: “After months of hot and dry weather, our rural areas are parched.

“This not only increases the risk of fires spreading quickly, but also increases the risk of ignition.

“We are urging local farmers to take extra care as sparks from hot machinery can easily lead to a field catching fire, and we are asking everyone enjoying our beautiful countryside and coastline to take extra to take care and be vigilant with anything that can cause a fire to start.”

The fire brigade has given the following advice to stay safe on the road:

  • Avoid open fire or use of barbecues in the countryside
  • Disposable barbecues and campfires are actually banned in many parts of Dorset
  • Extinguish smoking materials properly, and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows – take your litter home
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire and Rescue Service. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a major wildfire incident.
  • When calling the fire and rescue service: Go to a safe place, note the fire location (apps such as What3Words can help if you are unsure), call 999, meet the fire and rescue service at the access point.
  • Do not attempt to tackle fires that cannot be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as soon as possible.
  • When you are​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​at the beach do not put out torches, have campfires or light barbecues, as these can easily lead to fire and leaves on the cliffs.

Landowners and land managers are advised to be prepared for fires where possible and to ensure that burn sites are trimmed and properly maintained, with all cut grass and vegetation removed from the site.

Farmers are urged to keep their machinery well maintained and follow the Service’s advice on staying fire safe, which can be found at

Mr Gillion added: “Dealing with wildfires is incredibly resource-intensive, and some can take days – and even weeks – to bring under control.

“In addition to the devastating impact on the countryside, such fires are also very costly, and yet they can be prevented if people heed the warnings and take care.

“We can all play a part in protecting Dorset and Wiltshire from fire.”

More information about staying safe and enjoying the outdoors while avoiding starting a wildfire can be found at

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