National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has issued extreme caution to members of the public, following a surge in the number of wildfires reported.

More than a dozen fires at beauty spots around the UK have been tackled in the last week, many of which are believed to have been caused by BBQs and campfires - resulting in sustained and prolonged operations by the UK Fire & Rescue Services and other partner agencies.

With very little rain in the month of May and higher than average temperatures, certain areas of the UK landscape are very dry, providing the perfect condition for fires to take hold and spread.

Wildfires in Dorset & Wiltshire, South Yorkshire and Lancashire recently have required local, regional and national response across a number of days, involving huge resources. NFCC's National Resilience function, has coordinated and deployed assets to where they are needed, from across the country with Fire and Rescue Services responding jointly with partners including United Utilities, local Police forces and Mountain Rescue.

At the height of the response, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service had 25 fire appliances in attendance, additional 4x4 community response vehicles and around 150 firefighters at the scene.

Paul Hedley, NFCC's 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.

"The message is really clear. If you are taking daily exercise in areas of woodland, heath or forestry over the coming weeks, use extreme caution and don't use portable barbecues or light fires of any kind, because the effects could be catastrophic."

Limiting the risk of wildfires will ensure Fire and Rescue Service crews can continue to be Ready Willing and Able to spend time supporting their communities and other emergency services during COVID-19.