Wildfires in HampshireHeatwave conditions have prompted warnings from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services (HFRS) over wildfires and using Chinese lanterns during  National Parks Week [29 July-4 Aug].

The recent warm weather has significantly increased wildlife risks as well as the use of summer’s favourite night time illumination, the Chinese lantern.

Hampshire’s New Forest is one of the most visited national parks and boosts some of the favourite picturesque in UK.

Public should be vigilant and contact 999 in case of a fire
Area Manager and Head of HFRS’s community Safety, Steve Ford, said: “We are currently experiencing some fantastic summer weather ....We’re asking the public to be extra vigilant and follow a few simple steps, such as extinguishing cigarettes properly and not throwing them on the ground or out of car windows.

"Avoid open fires in the countryside, unless you're in a safe designated area. We do not support the use of Chinese lanterns and asks members of the public and event organisers to refrain from using them."

He also advised to clear away bottles, glasses and broken glasses to avoid them magnifying fire and if one sees a fire not to attempt tackling it but to call 999 and evacuate immediately.

Fire awareness and its effects on wildlife
Every year, fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside, parkland and wildlife habitats and although some are started deliberately most of them are due to carelessness.

The most rapid grass fire occurred in Peartree Common, Southampton last Friday [26 July]. This has led to firefighters in Rushmoor which has more than a third of fire related calls to carry out regular wildfire patrols since June to August and raise awareness of the dangers.

Although rain and thunderstorms have also affected the area in recent days, landowners and land managers are being encouraged to ensure fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from sites.

Further advice about outdoor safety can be found at http://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/yoursafety/onholiday/countryside.htm