The UK enjoys a temperate climate which means natural disasters like wildfires are few and far between compared to our European neighbours, but that doesn’t mean the risk is completely gone. In fact, as climate change begins to change our weather systems and our summers get warmer and dryer, the risk of forest fires increases.
In this blog, we’re going to detail 5 ways to prevent forest fires that you can take note of to help reduce the spread and minimise the damage should you come across one.
How to Prevent Wildfires in the UK
The number of forest fires in the UK varies year on year, with 2,500 reported between 2009-10 and 9,000 reported between 2015-16. Most are small, but devastating fires do happen. In 1995, 2003, 2011, and 2019, the UK had much drier and warmer weather, resulting in more wildfires from the dead vegetation and exceptionally dry ground.
The risk of wildfires increases in summer due to the warmer weather, and as climate change continues to worsen, it’s likely we’ll see an increase in the number of natural wildfires. That being said, there are a few steps you can take to help prevent forest fires.
1. Extinguish Campfires After Use
If you’re camping and start a campfire, make sure you keep all camping equipment and tents away from the fire, and make sure you don’t continuously add fuel to the fire, either. When finished, ensure you fully extinguish the fire using water or ashes, taking care to completely extinguish every ember. When lighting a fire, be sure to clear forest debris such as branches away as they can fuel the fire.
2. Be Cautious with Fireworks
Fireworks can be incredibly dangerous if not let off correctly. If you’re going to use fireworks or sparklers, only do so in a large open area that is free of flammable debris. Also ensure that you have permission to do so.
3. Report Fires
It’s not uncommon for people to burn rubbish or start campfires, but if you see a fire that is unattended or that looks like it’s out of control, make sure you report it by calling 999 or contacting your local fire station directly. Even if the fire looks small, it can still spread quickly and cause lasting damage.
4. Keep up to Date with Fire Risks in Your Area
Make sure you keep on top of the weather forecast in your local area to check for any fire warnings. We will issue a warning that may mean you need to steer clear of the area or refrain from activities that could lead to a forest fire. Follow us or your local fire department on social media to stay up to date. Follow our Facebook or Twitter now.
5. Exercise Caution with Flammable Liquids
Our final of the 5 ways to prevent forest fires is to ensure you are cautious with flammable liquids. If you need to refill a stove, heater, or lantern with propane, make sure you do so when the equipment is completely cool, and fill them outside your tent rather than inside. Keep flammable liquids away from fire sources.
These are five small yet effective ways you can prevent forest fires and prevent existing fires from spreading or getting out of control, but if you’re in doubt, contact your local fire station. Call us today (01604 760 600) for more information about keeping safe outdoors in the summer months.