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Thetford Forest visitors asked to follow fire safety warnings after six blazes reported over the weekend

PUBLISHED: 16:56 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:24 25 June 2018

Six fires have occured at various sites of Thetford Forest over the space of a few days. Picture: Forestry Commission

Six fires have occured at various sites of Thetford Forest over the space of a few days. Picture: Forestry Commission

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Visitors to Thetford Forest are being urged to heed advice regarding open flames after six fires were reported across the site over the past few days.

Damage caused following a fire at Thetford Forest in 2015. Photo by Brightstar Designs and PhotographyDamage caused following a fire at Thetford Forest in 2015. Photo by Brightstar Designs and Photography

With the hot temperatures and dry conditions the 18,730 hectare forest is at a greater risk of fires.

Despite signs saying barbecues are not permitted in the forest, over the weekend many people ignored the warnings.

Norfolk and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Services were called to fires at Santon Downham, High Lodge, Mildenhall Woods and an area of forest at Thetford.

Fortunately, there was minimal damage caused and the areas affected were quite small.

Damage caused following a fire at Thetford Forest in 2015.  Photo by Brightstar Designs and PhotographyDamage caused following a fire at Thetford Forest in 2015. Photo by Brightstar Designs and Photography

Roger Woods, spokesman for the Forestry Commission, said it would not take much for a fire to take hold in present conditions.

He said people should take note of the rules when they visit the beauty spot to help protect the trees, wildlife and people within the forest.

He added: “The message is simple, if you spot a fire anywhere on the Forestry Commission estate then dial 999.”

Barbecues can be hired to use at designated areas at High Lodge in Thetford Forest.

Paul Seaman, district Commander for South Norfolk and Breckland Norfolk Fire and Rescue service (NFRS), said: “The conditions in the forest at present are causing some concern as many areas are extremely dry, we would advise people to take extra care when enjoying outdoor activities and to seek advice from the Forestry Commission.

“People must avoid lighting campfires or using BBQs, other than those supplied at recognised sites on hard standing, in any area of the forest as this may well lead to wildfires occurring.

“NFRS have well practiced procedures and equipment for dealing with wildfire but of course prevention is better than cure.

“We would urge the public to dial 999 if they spot a wildfire however small as early intervention gives our crews the best opportunity to prevent fire spread.”

Forestry Commission rules:

1. Don’t throw cigarettes out of car windows or drop them in the forest when you are driving or walking in the forest. Dispose of any cigarettes safely and ensure they have been properly stubbed out.

2. Open flames and barbecues, including disposable ones, are not permitted within the forest.

3. Avoid dropping glass of any kind on the forest floor; this can sometimes accidentally start a fire, or injure people or animals.

4. Never start a campfire in the forest as they can get out of hand very quickly.

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