Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) has issued a warning to Bedordians after tackling several wildfires in the last few weeks, including one in Great Denham and another in Wyboston yesterday (Thursday).
In a statement, the service said that its firefighters are “working harder than ever”.
“Since the start of the hot and dry weather, Bedfordshire firefighters have been extremely busy, attending grass fires, field fires, rubbish fires and vehicle fires across the county.,” said Bedfordshire Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Alison Kibblewhite.
“Whilst we continue to deliver on our mission to keep the people of Bedfordshire safe, we need your help.”
ACFO Kibblewhite is urging people to act carefully and responsibly and to follow their advice carefully.
“The dry grass and foliage around us is extremely flammable and fires can get out of control dangerously fast.”
“For example, throwing a cigarette out of a car window could cause an entire field to be lost to fire and could endanger life as well as the crops and livelihoods of farmers.
“Please avoid using disposable barbecues or BBQs that are low to the ground. Bonfires or fires in gardens may spread to garages or other buildings quicker than usual.”
The warning comes after fire crews from across Bedfordshire and neighbouring counties were called to large wildfires in Wyboston and Great Denham yesterday.
A large area of the former Great Denham Golf Course was destroyed after dry grass caught alight.
Yvette Waterson videoed the fire which showed large plumes of black smoke between Great Denham and Biddenham as flames slowly engulfed the dry grass.
Video: Yvette Waterston/We Are Bedford/Facebook
Earlier in the same day, BFRS from Bedford, Sandy, Biggleswade, and Kempston were joined by Cambridgeshire Fire Service to tackle a blaze in Wyboston.
You can prevent fires
BFRS has now issued advice to help avoid fires in hot and dry weather:
- Don’t have bonfires/campfires
- Don’t have barbecues
- Make sure cigarettes are put out properly
- Don’t leave glass bottles in the sun
- Please also refrain from using fireworks or Chinese lanterns during weather such as this.
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is also appealing to farmers in the county as farmland and grassland is even more susceptible to fire and arson during the dry weather.
They are that visitors are supervised and machinery is maintained to prevent them from catching fire.
NFU County Adviser Flora Archer added: “The countryside is already tinder dry and the heatwave, with dry easterly winds, is expected to make a serious situation worse even over the next few days.
“The tiniest spark can start a fire so it’s vital everyone takes steps to minimise the risks. For farmers, this includes carrying out extra checks on farm machinery, regularly cleaning out dust and chaff from hot spots on combine harvesters and making sure there is a plan in place in the event of a fire.
“We’re also urging people visiting the countryside not to use disposable barbecues, not to drop litter including bottles and not to discard cigarettes or matches.”
“If a fire does break out, using the What3Words app can help guide the emergency services to the precise location, saving valuable time. We know of several instances where standing crops were saved because firefighters knew exactly where to go.”