Be our eyes out there, plead firefighters

As the number of wildfires and crop fires in the heatwave nudges towards 200, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is asking the public to turn fire watchers.

Explained Area Manager Jason Crapper: “We are bound to have more wildfires and crop fires as the heatwave drags on.

“And for firefighters getting to incidents quickly makes a huge difference in terms of the time and resources needed to get them under control.

“So we are asking the public to keep their eyes peeled for us until we get some substantial rainfall.

“If you spot a fire in the countryside don’t try and tackle it yourself, a bucket of water is not going to do the job. Instead dial 999 and ask for us.

“And crucially we’ll need an accurate fix on the location, information about nearby road junctions and local landmarks help us out a lot in pinpointing incidents”

Mr Crapper also repeated fire service advice to minimise the risks of countryside fires.

• Avoid open fires and picnic BBQs in the countryside. If you have a fire, make sure that you’re in a designated safe area and you have at least two large bottles of water on hand.

• Put out cigarettes properly before you leave your vehicle

• Do not throw cigarette ends out of your vehicle. They could start a fire and destroy surrounding countryside

• Bonfires should wait until we’ve had some rain.

• Never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to start a bonfire or BBQ

• Don’t leave bottles or glass in the countryside, as sunlight shining through the glass can cause a fire to start

• If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately. Do not try to tackle a fire yourself; usually they can’t be put out with a bucket of water. Please call the fire service and leave the area as soon as possible

• Ensure that you know your location or a landmark so you can direct the fire service

For more information visit http://www.365alive.co.uk/cms/content/countryside-fires-0