Warning as firefighters attend 300 blazes in Hampshire's countryside in a month
FIREFIGHTERS are warning Hampshire residents about the risk of wildfires after a spike in blazes in some of the county's beauty spots in the past month.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have tackled about 10 fires in the open a day in the past month – almost 300 in total.
Many of these have been caused by barbecues not being properly extinguished, glass bottles being left in the sun and out of control bonfires or campfires.
A wildfire amber alert is currently in place.
The devastating result of a wildfire can be seen in Manchester where scores of people have been evacuated from their homes while hundreds have been left without power.
The blaze scorched miles of countryside across Saddleworth Moor and Greater Manchester Police declared the fire a major incident.
A stretch of forestry was destroyed at a railway embankment in Chalton, Waterlooville.
New Forest Group Manager Steve Ash said: ‘At the moment the weather is beautiful and people are out enjoying that weather.
‘We have additional cycle patrols, specialist vehicles and wildfire mapping to ensure we are as prepared as possible for any wildfires that should occur.
‘We ask the public to do their bit in helping us prevent these fires happening in the first place.
‘What this means is taking everything away with you after a picnic or barbecue to ensure nothing is left behind that could start a fire.
‘Also make sure you only have a barbecue or light a fire in a designated area and that everything has been properly extinguished before you leave.
‘In the unfortunate case of there being a fire we ask that you get to a place of safety and call 999 immediately so we can put it out before it does significant damage to the countryside we all enjoy.”