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People are being urged not to light barbecues in the countryside during the current hot spell

‘No-barbecue’ appeal to countryside visitors

Visitors to Staffordshire’s countryside are being urged not to light barbecues during the hot spell.

And they’re also being asked to avoid lighting camp fires and take great care with smouldering cigarettes and discarded glass, which could magnify sunlight.

With weeks of hot weather and little rain, grass and undergrowth are extremely dry across the county.

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

Staffordshire has the most beautiful countryside for residents and visitors to enjoy, but at the moment we have to take care.

If people are having a day out at one of our country parks, or elsewhere in the countryside, we would ask them to take a picnic with them rather than lighting up a barbecue, because the risk of sparking a fire is high at the moment.”

The authority has been in talks with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and is applying the ‘no barbecue’ request at all its countryside parks and estates, including Cannock Chase, Chasewater, Apedale, Hanchurch Hills, Consall Nature Park and Deep Hayes, near Cheddleton.

County Council countryside rangers will be on duty at the weekend and warning signs erected.

Gill Heath added:

As well as being responsible themselves, I hope people can keep an eye open wherever they are – the end of one discarded cigarette can be enough to start a major blaze in these conditions.”

Advice includes:

  • 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.

With the high temperatures and dry weather forecast to continue, the advice remains in place until further notice.