Visitors to the countryside are being asked to leave barbecues at home and take extreme care, as the heatwave is heightening fire risks.
NFU Mutual says that with soaring temperatures and very dry conditions this week, many parts of the UK countryside are at risk of fires from dropped cigarettes, barbecues and campfires.
Moorland, grass and forest fires last month caused devastating damage to wide areas of the British countryside and served as a stark reminder of the dangers of wildfires.
NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist Rebecca Davidson said: “Months of dry, sunny weather and tinder-dry conditions this week mean that large parts of the countryside are at risk of fire – putting the lives of people, farm animals and wildlife at risk as well as damaging valuable crops.
“We’re urging people to act considerately when out and about in the countryside. Please don’t take disposable barbecues on walks or start campfires, and don’t leave litter and rubbish lying around.”
The rural insurer says the cost of farm fires rose by 27.5 per cent in 2018, which was another dry year, totalling £46.4 million.
NFU Mutual’s countryside fire checklist:
- Don’t drop used matches or cigarettes – they can smoulder and start a fire
- Don’t start campfires or use disposable barbecues on grass, moorland or in forests
- Call 999 if you spot a fire while out in the countryside
- Avoid parking in narrow country lanes where emergency services vehicle access could be blocked
- Don’t drop litter – discarded bottles can focus sunlight and start a fire
- Follow national and local Coronavirus rules
- Keep to footpaths when walking in the countryside