STRONG winds have caused the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to issue an amber wildfire warning following a sustained period of dry weather.

This alert means that, should a wildfire be experienced, it could spread quickly and easily due to the dry and windy conditions.

As seen with the major incident at Wareham Forest last year, wildfires take a great deal of resources and time to bring under control, and cause devastation to heath, woodland and wildlife.

Group Manager Tim Gray said: “In light of the amber wildfire alert, we are asking for the public’s help by not having campfires or using disposable barbecues in our forests and heathlands.

“Whilst we understand that the lifting of some lockdown restrictions, combined with the dry weather, will mean people will want to go out and about, we cannot stress enough the importance of being fire aware.

“Please follow these few steps so we can avoid another wildfire in our beautiful countryside.”

The fire service have advised for people to not use barbecues or campfires on the heath or in open spaces, and to extinguish cigarettes properly.

If residents see a fire in the countryside, call 999 and report it immediately to the Fire and Rescue Service, providing as much detail as possible about location and access.

At the same time, people are urged to make sure they are in a safe place well away from the blaze.

Landowners and land managers are also advised, where possible, to be prepared for fires and ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.

More information on staying safe and enjoying outside areas whilst avoiding starting a wildfire can be found here –