What are the risks and causes?
Fires of this kind can be triggered by various causes such as carelessly
discarded cigarettes, rubbish thrown on the area, uncontrolled barbeques
and bonfires, and by children who deliberately start fires, particularly
during school holiday periods.
As well as the potentially fatal consequences to human life, the
many areas of beauty across the county and wildlife are threatened
by such incidents. Many animals are unable to escape from fire and
will be burnt, birds can fly away but nests and eggs that are left
behind are destroyed.
Leisure activities such as camping and caravanning can also be
threatened by a fire of this kind, especially as the speed at which
a fire can travel through gorse and dry undergrowth is astounding.
Everyone can help to reduce the risk of fire so that Surrey’s countryside
remains safe, particularly by taking care during the dry summer
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How to avoid the onset of fire in the countryside
In order to safeguard human life, the areas of natural beauty across
Surrey and the wildlife that inhabit them, firefighters are urging
the public to help them to prevent these devastating fires occurring
by following this preventative advice:
Smoking – if out walking or having a picnic, be sure to dispose
of cigarettes and other smoking materials carefully and ensure that
they are fully extinguished.
Barbeques – on most heathlands, it is actually illegal to light
any fire, including barbeques, without the permission of the landowner.
Litter – please take your litter home with you. Even a discarded
glass bottle can start a fire.
Young People – a growing number of young people are deliberately
starting fires. Please educate children about the devastating consequences
of causing fires.
What are Surrey Fire and Rescue doing about fires
Arson investigation – Surrey Fire and Rescue is well aware of the
growing number of arson incidents across the county and particularly
Following a great deal of work already carried out by the existing
Fire Investigation and Arson Reduction team, recent government funding
has enabled the establishment of a dedicated ‘Arson Task Force’.
What to do if a fire does break out in the countryside
- Call the Fire Service without delay
- Keep well away from the fire – heathland fires can spread fast
- Only attempt to put it out if you are certain it is safe to
- Prepare to evacuate livestock if necessary
- Prepare to use farm machinery to assist the Fire Service
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