The Natural Hazards Partnership (NHP) issued an Amber alert for the risk of wildfires over the weekend. This means that the weather and ground conditions give a higher likelihood of wildfire, and that any fire that broke out would potentially be difficult to control.
The highest risk areas in Dorset are heathland sites, sites which face significant pressure from urbanisation. We have already seen multiple heath fires this year.
Andy Elliott, the Wildfire Tactical Advisor for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said, “This time of year can be particularly difficult for wildfires. Much of the vegetation is still dead from the winter and it dries out rapidly when the sun starts to warm things up, particularly if there is a drying wind. Please take great care and avoid having bonfires or campfires in the open to help us protect our wonderful heathland habitats and people’s homes”.
The Urban Heaths Partnership (UHP) works hard to reduce the impacts of wildfires on heathlands across Dorset and to protect and enhance these areas as well as raise the understanding of their habitat and history. Everyone can help protect the heaths from fire. If you see a fire, get to safety and call the fire service on 999.
Paul Attwell, Team Manager at The Urban Heaths Partnership commented, “Heathland wildfires can put the public and firefighters at risk and be devastating to endangered plants and animals, as well as putting nearby homes in danger. Please take additional care and be extra vigilant during warm weather and report anything that looks like a possible fire, don’t wait and think someone else will report it. During this time, we will increase partnership staff and volunteers on site to help prevent large fires”.