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Wildfire Safety Advice

We attended 128 wildfires across Lancashire in 2020 alone.

The involvement of the public is a vital factor in preventing the massive damage that wildfires can cause. Read on to find our latest tips on how to stay safe.

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Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – they can ruin whole fields of crops.

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Take extra care with the disposal of lighted cigarettes, particularly from moving vehicles or in moorland or countryside areas.

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We’d always advise you not to use disposable barbecues or have camp fires on moorland or near to dry woodland areas. However, if you do, please ensure that the fire is fully extinguished and cold before discarding it.

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If you see a fire, dial 999 to notify the Fire Service and provide whatever information you can that can help the firefighters find the fire.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – Wildfire Safety Advice

Wildfires are a serious problem in Lancashire. We deal with more and more fires on moorland and grassland each year, with many sadly being caused by the actions of people.

However, there are many ways you can help to avoid wildfires starting. It is especially important to be very wary of wildfires when out camping, caravanning and using disposable barbecues.

Wildfires are becoming more common each year. Climate change is also a factor because it means some areas are drier and more likely to set alight.

But with your help, we can reduce the number and seriousness of wildfires in Lancashire. This will stop them causing costly damage and endangering lives.

Wildfires in Lancashire

We want people to stop using disposable barbecues in the countryside to reduce the amount of harm caused by wildfires.

Wildfires are easily started and can spread rapidly putting people, property and infrastructure at risk. The terrain makes them challenging to firefight and demands large amounts of our resources, as well as from the resources of our partners.

Lancashire knows only too well the devastating effects of wildfires following a fire on Winter Hill near Bolton in summer 2018 which destroyed 18 square kilometres of moorland. Despite this, we continue to experience avoidable fires in open spaces across the county, causing long-lasting harm to wildlife, habitats, and biodiversity.

The threat to the environment and our communities can be significantly reduced if people enjoy Lancashire’s great outdoors without using disposable barbecues.

How You Can Help

You can assist us by following this advice:

  • If you see a wildfire, always report it on 999. Don’t assume someone already has.
  • Never use disposable barbecues on moorland or grassland. Pack a picnic instead.
  • Avoid smoking on moorland. If you do, always extinguish your cigarettes and other smoking materials thoroughly.
  • Do not dispose of cigarette butts out of car windows.
  • Never leave bottles behind, as sunlight can become focused as it shines through glass, starting fires.
  • Keep children away from lighters and matches.

If you are a landowner or manage land, please only carry out controlled burns if absolutely necessary and within the legal timeframe each year. It is very easy for controlled burns to get out of control and cause unintended wildfires.

Why Wildfires are Important

You may ask why wildfires are important, because they are not normally in areas where people live.

As well as being dangerous, wildfires can cause extensive damage to property and infrastructure. They also destroy key habitats for our British wildlife. Moreover, any firefighters who are forced to deal with a wildfire are unable to be deployed elsewhere until it is extinguished.

Wildfires and moorland fires are difficult to contain and can very quickly spread into other areas and cause damage to property and buildings.

Impacts on the Environment

As well as the human impact, wildfires also release a huge amount of carbon into the atmosphere. This lowers air quality and also contributes to global warming and climate change.

Lancashire is already experiencing the effects of climate change, such as an increased number of flooding and wildfire events. We have identified these incident types as among the most high-risk and impactful on Lancashire’s residents today.

You can learn more about how we plan to face these challenges in our climate change operational response plan (opens in a new tab) or by watching this video:

Additional Resources

For more information about wildfires and what you can do to help avoid causing one, you can click here to visit the official Moors of the Future website (opens in a new window).

By following this advice, you can enjoy visiting Lancashire’s beautiful moorland without risking causing a costly and potentially deadly wildfire.

You might also be interested in our camping and the outdoors safety advice page.

The film below explains how wildfires can start and what the consequences of them are: