Leave barbecues at home and help prevent forest fires

The disposable barbecue that started a fire at Bryn Forest near Hafod Farm in the Afan Valley.

As Natural Resources Wales starts the process of re-opening the Welsh countryside by providing more access to local people to its sites, visitors are encouraged to help prevent wildfires by leaving their barbecues at home.

Disposable barbecues are a common cause of hard to control wildfires in Wales and most recently caused a fire at Bryn Forest near Hafod Farm in the Afan Valley. The fire was brought under control quickly, before it really took hold.

Failing to extinguish barbequescompletely, not disposing of them properly, or taking them home are the main causes of accidental wildfires.

Cigarettes and open fires are other well-known causes of hard to control fires that blight forests and wild places.

Richard Owen, Team Leader for Estate Recreation Planning, Natural Resources Wales, said:

“While we are welcoming people back to our sites, we are asking people to please take extra care and help support our emergency services and protect the places you love.

“People don’t realise how easy it is for a rogue ember from a barbecue or bonfire, or discarding of a cigarette that is still lit, to develop into something bigger.

“Take a picnic instead of a barbecue to minimise the risk of fire. If people ignore this advice and still decide to have a barbecue, I would urge them to make absolutely sure it is extinguished when they have finished cooking and to dispose of it properly by taking it home.

“Let’s do all we can to prevent the devastation of wildfires on our forests, nature, wildlife and the environment. Follow fire safety advice and the Countryside Code.”

Follow the following fire safety advice to help prevent a wildfire and ensure a safe visit to Wales’ national forests and land:

  • If you see a wildfire, call 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service
  • Take a picnic rather than a disposable barbecue. If you do take a barbecue, make sure it is fully extinguished and take it home with you.
  • Never light an open fire during prolonged dry periods.
  • Always fully extinguish cigarettes and dispose of them responsibly.

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