FIRE safety experts have warned of the special dangers that come with the present spell of very hot and dry conditions.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has issued important safety advice, as fire crews have attended a number of incidents involving fires in the open in the last week.

“We have been experiencing some dry, warm weather and it is only natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy it with family and friends but it is also important to stay fire aware when out and about, as every year fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats,” said Station Commander Steve Andrews.

“With the hot weather set to continue, we are asking the public to be vigilant and by following these few simple steps we can all help to reduce the chance of a wildfire.”

•Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows.

•Take your rubbish with you, especially glass bottles, which can magnify the sun’s rays and start a fire as well as hurt people and animals.

•Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe designated areas.

•If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident.

•Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.

•Landowners and Land Managers are also advised, where possible, to ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.

•Remember that arson is a crime and will be prosecuted.

“We would also ask people to be extra cautious when lighting barbecue and bonfires,” added Station Commander Andrews.

Advice includes never leave a barbecue or garden fire unattended and under no circumstances use petrol as a fuel but only use approved lighters to ignite the fire.

Leaves and vegetation must be cleared around a fire and it must be at least 10 metres from any building or structure.