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Warning after fire calls in forestry

PUBLISHED: 07:16 24 July 2013

EDP © 2002

Norfolk Fire Service have warned the public to take care to prevent forestry fires during the hot weather after it was called to Thetford Forest twice in one day.

Crews were called to Thetford Forest twice on Sunday, at 10am and again just before 2pm, to tackle blazes that were deliberately lit.

In the first, crews from Thetford, Brandon, East Harling and Hethersett took just five minutes to extinguish a fire near Santon Close in Thetford.

The second took four fire crews 40 minutes to tackle and saw 200 sqm of forestry ablaze.

Fire crews were also called to Mildenhall Woods, near Cypress Close, last Wednesday at around 10.30am.

Firefighters using hose reels managed to extinguish the flames by 11.20am.

Paul Seaman, group manager for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Some fires are started deliberately, but most could easily be prevented by following some simple safety advice.

“Since the start of the prolonged dry spell Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has seen an increase in calls to fires in the countryside.

“We have been working closely with our partners at the Forestry commission and would ask that the public enjoy the current weather but also take note of safety advice.”

The fire services safety recommendations include:

• Be careful to dispose of cigarette butts in a metal container.

• Use extreme caution when using disposable BBQs and avoid them if possible.

• Don’t have a bonfire of any size during a sustained dry period. This is particularly important in rural areas.

• If you see a fire please ring 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service even for a small fire, it can very soon become a big fire and get out of control.

• For anyone working on the land it is essential to have at least one fire extinguisher on your vehicle, preferably water. If possible have a water bowser, slurry tanker or sprayer nearby when harvesting or baling.

• Anyone planning to use fireworks or Chinese lanterns is asked to exercise caution as a stray firework or lantern is an obvious hazard.

Mr Seaman added: “Our key message is to never take a lit or smouldering barbecue into a tent or caravan awning.

“Even a smouldering barbecue can give off deadly carbon monoxide for many hours after it’s been used.”

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