A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPOs) has come into force banning people lighting fires in many areas across Dorset.

Dorset Council is working with Forestry England and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire service to protect countryside area including heathlands, forests, and coastlines from the devastation fires can cause.

Here's everything you need to know:

What is happening?

From July 1, people are banned from having barbecues, campfires, fireworks, lanterns and campfires in many areas of Dorset.

When is the PSPO in place? 

There is clear signage at the areas where the PSPO applies.

Areas include Canford Heath, Wareham Forest, the Blue Pool and surrounding areas, Brownsea Island, Turbary Common, Holt Heath and Hengistbury Head. 

All the areas can also be seen at https://explorer.geowessex.com/cside/nobbq

Why is there a ban?

In May 2020, 220 hectares of heath and forest were destroyed by a wildfire at Wareham Forest.

Bournemouth Echo: Wareham Forest fire Picture: Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue ServiceWareham Forest fire Picture: Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

Read more: As it happened: initial updates from the Wareham Forest fire

The fire took 150 firefighters and four million litres of water to extinguish. 

It was started by discarded disposable barbecues. 

Dorset Council said over the last two years there have also been a series of injuries and safety concerns caused by barbecues used along the coastline and public spaces.

What does the PSPO mean for me? 

Anyone found to be breaking the new restrictions will be liable for a £100 fine and all banned items will be confiscated.

What has the fire service said?

Charlie Pack, group manager of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fire can spread with devastating speed and, every year, we see large areas of our beautiful countryside destroyed.

"In far too many cases, this is down to people not taking care with campfires or barbecues.

"We can all play our part in protecting our heathlands and open spaces, so we are urging people to #BringAPicnicNotABBQ when out and about, and to avoid doing anything involving naked flame.”

What can I do to help? 

People who visit beauty spots across Dorset are being urged to take a picnic not a barbecue this year and take their rubbish home.

What else is being done to prevent fires?

Litter Free Dorset is campaigning for businesses to choose to remove disposable barbecues from sale.

Meanwhile, Aldi and Waitrose have stopped selling disposable barbecues. 

And last year, Co-op stopped selling disposable barbecues near UK national parks.