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Countryside left smouldering after abandoned barbecues cause wildfires across the UK

Hundreds of acres of moorland and forestry have been engulfed by wildfires due to the recent dry weather and ’irresponsible’ behaviour of people visiting the countryside.

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Countryside left smouldering after abandoned barbecues cause wildfires across the UK

Fires believed to have been started by abandoned barbecues and campfires broke out in Dorset, Wiltshire, South Yorkshire and Lancashire last weekend (May 29- May 31), with UK Fire and Rescue Services quick to respond.

 

In South Wales, fire crews attended nearly 70 deliberate grass fires during the weekend.

 

With little rain throughout May and higher than average temperatures, areas of the UK countryside are extremely dry, providing the ’perfect condition for fires to take hold and spread’, according to Lancashire chief fire officer Justin Johnston.

 

Mr Johnston said: “These dry and warm weather conditions, combined with a strong wind, make it so easy for fires like this to spread and they quickly burn underground in the peat and overground as well."


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He added: "We urge people to enjoy the moorlands, but not light barbecues or camp fires.

 

“They are not only putting the individuals at risk who are lighting them, but they also harm our firefighters, other people enjoying exercise on the moors and the wildlife on the moors."

 

Quickly

 

Paul Hedley, National Fire Chiefs Council wildfire lead, said: “These large-scale fires are a stark reminder as to just how quickly they can take hold.

 

“By their very nature, this type of fire is resource intensive and incredibly challenging for Fire and Rescue Services and the impact is huge, not just to the local environment and wildlife but also to the lives of those who live nearby.”

 

It is feared some of the fires could take days to extinguish and will have a damaging impact on UK moorland.

 

Reckless

 

 

NFU uplands chairman, Thomas Binns, said: “The dry weather is taking its toll on the uplands.

 

“We are seeing an influx of visitors to the countryside and while most are acting responsibly, these moorland fires have been started by reckless behaviour.

 

“Years of environmental scheme policies favouring destocked moorland have seen a large increase in fuel load in these areas, which would have naturally been reduced by sheep grazing the vegetation in the past.

 

"This has dried out in the last few months, and I am extremely worried we are witnessing fires so early into the summer season.

 

“It is clear these out of control fires will have caused huge environmental damage to wildlife and habitats, as well as putting peoples’ lives at risk. Having barbecues on moorland is completely inexcusable behaviour.”

 

There has also been calls from the farming community for disposable barbecues to be banned in public places and for shops to stop selling them.

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