Firefighters warn to take care in the countryside.

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to be careful while in the countryside this weekend. With sunny weather predicted, many people will be encouraged to be outside. Firefighters remind walkers and campers to stop and think about t

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to be careful while in the countryside this weekend.

With sunny weather predicted, many people will be encouraged to be outside. Firefighters remind walkers and campers to stop and think about the consequences of gorse fires to the environment and also how they tie up valuable fire resources for some time.

George Setter, Arson Reduction Manager, said: "These fires put the lives of the public and fire crews at risk, keeping firefighters from attending genuine emergencies. They also scar the beautiful landscape and wildlife habitats, which come alive at this time of year. We urge people to think again about the consequences of their actions."

People are asked to be vigilant in rural areas and follow this simple advice.


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In the countryside:

* Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly.

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* Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.

* Don't leave bottles or glass in woodlands - sunlight shining through glass can start fires; take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.

* Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended

* Avoid using open fires in the countryside.

* If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately.

* Don't attempt to tackle fires that can't be put out with a bucket of water - leave the area as quickly as possible.

General camping safety:

Fire in tents can spread very quickly so get everyone out straight away and dial 999 and giving the exact location - give a map reference if possible. Otherwise provide a nearby landmark, such as a farm or pub, to help them find you.

Tent safety:

* Never use candles in or near a tent- torches are safer.

* Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.

* Flammable liquids and gas cylinders should be kept outside the tent and away from children.

* Oil-burning appliances shouldn't be used in or around tents.

* Keep cooking appliances away from the walls and roof and anywhere they can easily be knocked over- they should not be used at all in small tents.

* Keep your cooking area clear of flammable material, including long grass.

* Don't smoke inside tents.

* Always think about how you would escape from your tent in the event of a fire.

* Do you know how to 'Stop, Drop and Roll'? Find out from the fire kills website at www.firekills.gov.uk

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