UK Fires & Wildfires
Wildfires have become more frequent, widespread, and intense in the UK. Here’s what to do in hot, dry weather when there’s an increased risk of grassfires and wildfires.
What can you find on this page:
- Advice on Fires & Wild Fires
- Signposting Support
Check weather warnings from the Met Office
In the event of a crisis/emergency, BRC would need to be called to assist by the emergency services who reach out to BRC (& other partners). CRCR (Crisis Response Community Resilience) may often be the first point of contact as they are a 24-7 service, they would then look to get support on the ground.
Prepare for Fires
UK WILDFIRES: PREPARING FOR GRASSFIRE AND WILDFIRES
Increasing temperatures lead to lengthy periods of hot, dry weather, raising the risk of uncontrolled fires breaking out. These can include grass or wildfires, both in urban and rural areas of the UK.
Hot weather and little rainfall can result in grassy areas becoming dry and straw-like. This happened in the summer of 2022 when the UK experienced multiple heatwaves and a period of prolonged high temperatures and little rainfall. In these conditions, grass can catch on fire from the smallest spark.
Grass fires in fields, parklands, and urban areas broke out across the country, as well as larger wildfires in rural areas. Homes and properties were lost, as well as a devastating impact on the environment and biodiversity.
During hot periods it’s important to take precautions and know how to stay safe during a wildfire.
FAQs on wildfires and grassfires
What to do if a grassfire or wildfire breaks out
If you see a wildfire, follow this advice from the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service:
If you see a wildfire outside:
- Stay calm
- Ensure you are in a safe location
- Call 999 and provide as much detail as possible about the fire including its size and location
If you are at home:
- Stay calm
- Put yourself in a place of safety – do not try to put out the fire yourself
- Keep doors and windows closed but unlocked
- Call 999 and inform us of your location. Provide us with as much detail as possible. Including the address, OS or What3Words location.
- Let us know the best access point to get to the property. If safe to do so, stand by the access point and speak to fire crews when they arrive.
Preparing for wildfires or grassfires in the UK
During the summer months, it’s important to familiarise yourself with advice to keep safe from the dangers of wildfires and fires in the open.
- Be aware. Most wildfires in the UK originate from human activity. These will either be leisure activities or deliberate acts. They are often people unaware of the risks associated with fires, especially wildfires.
- Make sure to monitor reports of wildfires in your area through the media or via your local emergency services.
- Have an escape plan for your safety
- Make sure your family members (or members of staff know what to do and where to assemble in the event of a wildfire. This includes how to care for pets and domestic animals
- If you live in a rural area, make sure your home name or number is clearly visible from the road or main access point so firefighters can easily locate your address
- Check the current wildfire risk in your area (based on weather conditions) using the Met Office Fire Severity Index.
Preventing grassfires or wildfires
We can’t control the weather, and wildfires can spread rapidly and for long periods of time, with no guarantee they will stop naturally. The best way to prevent wildfires and grassfires from breaking out is to be careful and responsible during hot and dry periods. These conditions make a fire more likely to start, so don’t provide the spark.
The London Fire Brigade gives the following advice in order to prevent a wildfire:
- Don’t drop cigarettes or anything that is burning on dry ground
- Don’t drop cigarettes out of car windows, they may land on dry grass by the roadside
- Avoid having barbecues in parks and public spaces
- Never leave campfires or barbecues unattended and extinguish them properly after you have finished using them
- Position your barbecue on level ground and keep it well away from anything that may catch fire.
- Do not barbecue on balconies, the wind may carry smouldering ash towards nearby grassland If you’re barbecuing near dry grass have a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergency use
- Be aware that children, animals, balls, or anything else may knock over barbecues, increasing the risk of grass fires, especially when in busy parks or public spaces
- Dispose of glass bottles properly. Sunlight can become focused as it shines through the glass, starting fires
- Keep children away from lighters and matches.