AN AMBER wildfire alert has been issued in Dorset for the coming weekend. 

The first amber alert has been issued this year by Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service as temperatures are set to rise. 

It means wildfires should be expected and could spread quickly and easily due to the dry conditions. 

The risk is greatest on large areas of open land, such as heathlands, fields and even cliffsides. 

Group manager Stuart Gillion said: “With a period of warm weather underway, we would urge people to take real care when enjoying the sunshine in our beautiful countryside.

"If you’re visiting our heathlands, woodlands or countryside, please avoid having a campfire and take a picnic rather than use a disposable barbecue – just a few simple steps can make a real difference to preventing fires from starting.”  

He added: “We’d also remind people to take care if having a barbecue or bonfire at home. All too often, we see property destroyed when an initially small fire suddenly gets out of control. 

“Never leave a bonfire or barbecue unattended, and site them well away from fences, trees or buildings.” 

Anyone enjoying the outdoors over the coming days is asked to follow these fire safety top tips from DWFRS: 

  • Don’t have barbecues or campfires on the heath or in open spaces; the risk of a fire starting is too great. 
  • Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows – take your litter home. 
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, call 999 and report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Please provide as much detail as possible about location, if necessary use the What3Words app, but also make sure you are in a safe place. 
  • Landowners and land managers are advised to be prepared for fires, where possible, and ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained, with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site. 
  • If you’re having a bonfire at home, have a garden hose to hand in case it starts to get out of control, and never use petrol or another accelerant to get it started. 
  • Barbecue coals stay hot for hours, so douse them with water and don’t dispose of them in a plastic wheelie bin until you can be absolutely sure they are cold.