'Tinderbox' countryside prompts warnings across Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh during heatwave

Contributed by editor on Jul 12, 2018 - 11:55 AM


With the dry, warm weather set to continue, Folkestone & Hythe District Council has teamed up with Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) to remind residents and visitors to be extra careful with outdoor fire safety.

KFRS Service Delivery Manager for Prevention and Protection, Rob Groombridge, said: “It is only natural to want to get out and enjoy the weather we are having, but we are asking people to be mindful of the risks of starting accidental fires.


Outdoor fires

“Outdoor fires can spread easily, especially in dry conditions, as we are seeing elsewhere in the UK. Such fires put enormous demands on fire-fighting resources, as well as posing a serious threat to lives, property and the natural wildlife habitat.


Barbecues and bonfires

“Please be mindful of the risks and take extra care to keep barbecues under control, ensure they are only lit in designated areas and never left unattended. We are also asking residents to avoid lighting bonfires and to consider more environmentally friendly ways to clear garden waste. Cigarettes, glass and other rubbish should to also be disposed of in a responsible manner to help reduce the risk of countryside fires.”



Rob added: “Parents can help us by reminding their children about the potentially serious consequences that could result from starting a fire deliberately. Following our simple safety tips you will help protect the countryside, and help safeguard the area and to prevent fires starting in the first place.”

• Keep matches and lighters out of the way of children and remind them that they are not toys
• If you are a parent you are strongly advised not to leave young people to wander in the countryside unsupervised. Ensure that they are aware of the dangers of fire
• Don't light fires in the countryside or drop litter which could be set alight
• Don't accumulate rubbish which can act as potential fuel for deliberate fire setters
• Contact to arrange collection of unwanted furniture, or to report abandoned vehicles or fly tipped waste.
• Report any information about illegal fire setting activities and those responsible (anonymously if need be) to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



Cllr Stuart Peall, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Folkestone and Hythe District Council, said bonfires posed an unnecessary risk in the current heatwave. “Local woods, fields and vegetation are a tinderbox and it would only take a few hot ashes or some floating burning debris - however small - to spark a major fire.

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