Fire and Rescue services stretched by Moorland fires
May 18, 2011barriehol
The exceptional spell of dry weather combined with high winds has lead to a sharp rise in moorland fires throughout the UK from the Highlands of Scotland to the Southern Downs and Wales. Even Ireland noted for its predisposition to frequent rain has suffered the same fate. The destruction of large tracts of moorland and forest wildlife habitat at the height of the nesting season is particularly sad.
According to the Fire and Rescue services a great number of the fires have been set deliberately by moronic vandals or as a consequence of “controlled” burning by land owners getting out of hand. Apprehending these irresponsible idiots is not easy and puts further strain on the police and emergency services.
According to the forecasters hot dry weather is set to return before the end of the month. The great British countryside understandably becomes a magnet for families and walkers when the sun shines so to minimise the risk of accidental fire the Fire Service has issued some timely advice on fire prevention.
The advice is just basic common sense to anyone with half a brain.
- Put out cigarettes properly
- Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
- Do not light barbeques or open fires on or near moorland areas
- Keep young children and ball games away from barbecues
- Make sure barbecues are fully extinguished and cold before disposing of them
- Do not leave bottles or glass in woodland and fields and dispose of them properly – sunlight shining through glass can and does start large fires.
I would add a couple more as I think the advice should include having a contingency should a fire start by shear accident or through a moment of carelessness. As most will visit the countryside by car or camper van investing in a small fire extinguisher that will fit easily in a boot or under a seat such as a 1kg Dry Powder will provide a double safeguard for the vehicle itself and will extinguish a small grass fire before it can spread.
A fire blanket large enough to throw over a barbeque or cooking stove is an even cheaper option and when the “sun don’t shine anymore” ( RIP Scott Walker) can be transferred to protect the kitchen at home. If you want to go the whole hog having a purpose made fire beater, often the only practical tool in remote rural areas even for the professionals, will do the trick.
Enjoy the summer days and treat the countryside safely and responsibly.