Countryside Fire Safety Advice in Cheshire

Countryside Safety

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind you how vulnerable the countryside is to heath fires during periods of warm, dry weather.

Grass fires

The dry weather can make conditions extremely dangerous as grass fires can get out of hand very quickly, cause extensive damage and put lives at risk. They can also last for several days once a fire takes hold using up valuable Fire Service resources which could be needed elsewhere.

Every year fire is responsible for the destruction of thousands of acres of countryside, open spaces and wildlife habitat with some fires lasting several days.

Many of these fires are started deliberately but by following a few simple precautions and showing a little extra care, many others could be prevented:

  • Avoid using open fires in the countryside
  • Do not leave bottles or glass in woodlands
  • Keep young children and ball games away from barbecues
  • Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly
  • Only use barbecues in suitable and safe areas and never leave them unattended
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – they can ruin whole fields of crops
  • Ensure that your barbecue is fully extinguished and cold before disposing of the contents
  • Sunlight shining through glass can start large fires – take glass bottles/jars home or put them in a waste or recycling bin

Please take care when in the countryside and alert the Service to fires as early as possible via 999 calls. An early call could mean the difference between a small, easily controllable fire and a widespread, devastating fire.

Dangers of disposable barbecues

Firefighters and forest rangers have issued an urgent warning to visitors to Delamere Forest to not use barbecues or light fires.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend (29th April to 1st May 2011) there were a total of nine fires at the forest – all of which were caused by disposable barbecues.

The most serious was late on Saturday 30th May 2011 when two appliances from Chester, one from Northwich and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s four-wheel drive response vehicle from Audlem had to be called. Firefighters spent 40 minutes tackling a six-metre square area of peat which had begun to smoulder as a result of a barbecue being left on bare ground.

People should not use disposable barbecues in Delamere Forest under any circumstances.

If you do use them elsewhere, it’s imperative that they are placed on bricks or paving slabs and that they are carefully dowsed in water once they have cooled.

Outdoor safety leaflet

Fire Safety Outdoors (new window PDF 666 kb)

If a fire breaks out

If a fire breaks out, please call the Fire and Rescue Service immediately.

It can be hard to give the location for an open area so mention any landmarks, such as a public house or a church in the vicinity.

Do not attempt to put the fire out yourself unless it is very small. Grass and crop fire can travel very quickly and change direction without warning.

The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code contains advice for the public and landowners.

It has information about rights, responsibilities and liabilities and how we all have a duty to protect the countryside. Together with common sense, it helps to make it easy for visitors to act responsibly and identify possible dangers.

More information about the countryside code (opens in new window)

Fire Operations Group

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is part of the Fire Operations Group, which was formed in 1996 after a serious moorland blaze. It brings together a partnership of six fire services, National Park rangers, National Trust wardens, water companies, major landowners and gamekeepers to draw up fire plans, oversee specialist fire-fighting equipment, raise awareness of moorland fires and the consequences and train for emergencies.