Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) has issued its first Amber wildfire alert of 2022 for its encompassing areas in Dorset and Wiltshire, southwest England.

An Amber alert means that, should a wildfire be experienced, it 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.

The warning has been issued due to ‘unseasonally warm and dry weather expected this week’, DWFRS has said.

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.

Farmers are also being urged to keep their machinery well maintained.

“While the warm and dry spring weather is very welcome after the winter, it does increase the risk of fires spreading quickly if something happens to cause ignition,” said DWFRS group manager, Jason Moncrieff.

“We are urging local farmers to take extra care, as sparks from hot machinery can easily lead to a field catching fire, and we ask everyone enjoying our beautiful countryside and coastline to take extra care and be vigilant with anything that could lead to a fire starting.

“Dealing with wildfires is incredibly resource-intensive, and some can take days – and even weeks – to bring under control.

“Alongside the devastating impact on the countryside, such fires are also very costly, and yet they can be prevented if people heed the warnings and take care.

“We can all play a part in keeping Dorset and Wiltshire safe from fire,” he concluded.

Countryside fires

If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire and Rescue Service, DWFRS said.

When calling the Fire and Rescue Service note the fire location and then get to a safe place.

DWFRS said not to attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.