Devon residents are being asked to ‘think twice’ by the fire service ahead of the first weekend since coronavirus lockdown measures were relaxed.

With the recent warm and dry weather, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service says there is a significant risk of wildfires – fires in the open on moorland, commons, and grass.

In the last week, firefghters have attended 244 fires in the open – while last year the maximum in a week would have been 100 incidents.

Wildfires can start and spread very easily and can be caused by discarded cigarettes, disposable barbecues left hot, and glass bottles in the sunlight.

Members of the public are also being asked to take care on the roads.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service area manager Darren Peters said: “We understand that many people will be considering travelling further afield this weekend as part of their daily exercise, especially after the period of lockdown.

“While we want you to enjoy exercise outdoors, along with our emergency service colleagues, we are still managing the ongoing impact of coronavirus in the area.

“For every fire, rescue incident and road traffic collision that is prevented, it saves our crews from potentially exposing themselves to coronavirus, meaning we can all stay safer.”

Those with private boats and yachts are being asked to carry out all the usual safety checks and make sure they have a way to contact HM Coastguard if they get into difficulty.

Drew Parkinson, HM Coastguard coastal operations area commander for South Devon, said: “Now, more than ever, people need to have respect for our coastline.

“Regardless of experience level, accidents can and do happen.

“Think twice about your actions and the effects they may have on emergency responders; be responsible.”

Devon communities are being asked to protect themselves and, at the same time, reduce the strain on the emergency services by:

• Being aware of the risk of starting a fire accidentally on moors, common and grass

• Taking extra care when driving

• Being careful near water