Preventing fires on common ground and heathland

Wild fire on common land.

At the end of March, a large fire engulfed an huge area of heathland at Chobham Common, one of the largest national nature reserve in the south east of England. Crews were out on the same common again on Good Friday 19th April, battling to save the land from further destruction. Around six hectares of common was damaged destroying wildlife, rare plant species and habitats.

On 22nd April, a wildfire on Whitmoor Common near Guildford was extinguished by Surrey Fire & Rescue Services (SFRS). Again on Thursday 25th April, SFRS tweeted “Fire crews from Woking are in attendance at a wildfire alongside the canal in Brewery Road in Woking. Fire crews from Guildford are also responding to a wildfire off Pinks Hill in Worplesdon”. And on Saturday April 27th, people were told to “avoid the area” due to a three hectare fire at Ash Ranges.

All of these fires were thought to have been started either deliberately, or by carelessly discarded cigarettes, camp fires or BBQ coals. Most public areas that allow barbecues have a designated picnic area. The advice of the Fire and Rescue services is; “Don’t leave glass bottles lying on the ground as sunlight shining through them can cause fires. Only light fires or barbecues in safe, designated areas, and don’t throw cigarettes out of car windows or on to the ground”. And if you spot a grass or moor fire, please call 999 immediately and ask for the fire service.

Following this huge number of wildfires that have/are breaking out regularly around the county, Surrey Fire & Rescue have asked us to share information to help prevent further incidents on common ground.

Follow Surrey Fire & Rescue on Twitter: @SurreyFRS