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Countryside visitors urged to take care during hot spell

People visiting Staffordshire’s countryside are being reminded to follow advice to help prevent the risk of fires, following a number of incidents across the county.

After weeks of hot weather and little rain, grass and undergrowth are extremely dry and with the hot spell set to continue, the risk of fires is particularly high.

Countryside rangers are now urging people not to use barbecues in the countryside, avoid lighting camp fires and take great care with smouldering cigarettes and discarded glass, which could magnify sunlight.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities, said:

“During this current hot spell we still want people to be able to enjoy the countryside but we are asking them to take extra care and follow our rangers’ advice.

“If people are having a day out at one of our country parks, or elsewhere in the countryside, we are asking them not to barbecue, not to light camp fires and not to drop used cigarettes or other smoking materials.  It’s also important that people call 999 immediately if they spot a fire.”

County Council countryside rangers are on duty and will continue to advise visitors. People should follow the following advice:

  • no barbecues – even in usually designated areas;
  • no camp fires;
  • do not drop used cigarettes or other smoking materials;
  • clear away bottles, glasses and broken glass to avoid magnifying the sun;
  • do not throw cigarettes from car windows;
  • if you see a fire dial 999 immediately;
  • if off the beaten track find a landmark such as a church, farm, or pub to use as a reference;

Where fires are being tackled some roads and paths may be closed – please heed warning signs and avoid these areas to keep safe and enable fire and ranger crews to deal with the fires.

The ‘no barbecue’ request was introduced at the County Council’s countryside parks and green spaces last week following discussions with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.  Places affected include Cannock Chase, Chasewater Country Park, Apedale, Consall Nature Park, Greenway Bank and Deep Hayes, near Cheddleton.

With the high temperatures and dry weather forecast to continue, the advice remains in place until further notice.  People can get more advice on www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/safety-outside/