Wildfire burning bushes and smoky skies.

Every year, wildfires destroy large areas of countryside and wildlife habitats. Wildfires can cause damage to property, businesses and infrastructure when they move into urban areas. Wildfires can happen at any time of year, but they are particularly common in the warmer months when the ground is drier. The majority of wildfires originate from human activity, whether deliberate or accidental, and could be avoided.

Actions to take to prevent wildfires occurring

  • Do not light fires in the countryside and only have barbecues where signs say you can.
  • Avoid lighting fires when high winds, low humidity and high temperatures are present or forecast.
  • Take extra care with the disposal of cigarettes in moorland or countryside areas, ensuring they are fully extinguished and disposed of appropriately. 
  • Never throw cigarettes out of car windows.
  • Never leave a hot barbecue unattended and always put your barbecue out. Make sure the ashes are cold and dispose of them responsibly.
  • Don’t litter – take any rubbish home with you. Glass in direct sunlight can cause a fire. Ensure none is left lying around.

Actions to take if you see a wildfire

  • If you see a fire in the countryside, always move to a place of safety and report it by calling 999. Do not assume someone else already has.
  • Do not attempt to tackle the fire yourself.
  • Always follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities. If you live in certain areas you might be asked to evacuate or you might be instructed to stay indoors with your doors and windows closed.

Further information and resources

Fire England publishes advice on fire safety outdoors

The British Red Cross also provide further support for staying safe around wildfires Wildfires UK: Prepare and stay safe | British Red Cross.

For further information about wildfires, visit Wildfire Aware – NFCC.

For those in Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service provides advice about what causes wildfires, how to prevent them, and the strategies used to fight them.