The Country Landowners Association (CLA) is calling on the public of North Yorkshire to take extra care in the countryside this week due to the increased fire risk.
The risk of has been elevated by high temperatures predicted for this week, coupled with a moderate wind, especially on hillsides, moors and heathland. The warm weather also coincides with an increase of visitors to the countryside with the advent of the school holidays.
Wildfires can spread rapidly, devastating farmland, wildlife and posing a risk to the lives of people living and working in rural and adjacent communities.
Most fires are preventable with just a little more care from the general public, who can help by not discarding cigarettes or other smouldering material. Litter is an issue too as often bottles and shards of glass can spark a fire.
Disposable barbecues also represent an increased fire risk, and visitors are being urged not to barbecue in rural areas. Barbecues should only take place in sheltered areas well away from combustible material, and properly extinguished afterwards.
Warnings have also been given regarding the use of sky lanterns, as these pose a serious risk of fire, especially in the countryside. Around 50 local authorities have imposed bans on the use of these.
CLA Director North, Dorothy Fairburn, said: “We have witnessed the devastating impacts of numerous fires across the North, both on communities and farmers, as well as scarring the landscape and destroying wildlife, and we appeal to the public to be extra vigilant when out and about in the countryside.
“Harvest time is a crucial time for farmers, but it is also a period of added risk of fire due to the tinderbox dry conditions on their fields. We encourage all farmers to equip themselves with fire extinguishers, or to have bowsers in strategic places around their field in case of fire, as well as checking their vehicles for faults which may release sparks onto dry stubble.”
In case of a fire, the public is advised not to try and tackle the fire themselves, and to alert the emergency services on the 999 number, stating as accurately as possible, the location of such a fire.