Countryside fire safety advice

Grass fires can get out of hand very quickly, cause extensive damage and put lives at risk. 

They can also last for several days once a fire takes hold using up valuable fire and rescue service resources which could be needed elsewhere.

Every year fire is responsible for the destruction of thousands of acres of countryside, open spaces and wildlife habitat with some fires lasting several days.

Tips to help to prevent grass fires

  • Avoid using open fires in the countryside.

  • Do not leave bottles or glass in woodlands.

  • Keep young children and ball games away from barbecues.

  • Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly.

  • Only use barbecues in suitable and safe areas and never leave them unattended.

  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows - they can ruin whole fields of crops.

  • Ensure that your barbecue is fully extinguished and cold before disposing of the contents.

  • Sunlight shining through glass can start large fires - take glass bottles/jars home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.

Please take care when in the countryside and alert the Service to fires as early as possible via 999 calls. An early call could mean the difference between a small, easily controllable fire and a widespread, devastating fire.

Outdoor safety leaflet

Fire Safety Outdoors (new window PDF 666 kb)

If a fire breaks out

If a fire breaks out, call the fire and rescue service immediately.

It can be hard to give the location for an open area so mention any landmarks, such as a public house or a church in the vicinity. 

Do not attempt to put the fire out yourself unless it is very small. Grass and crop fire can travel very quickly and change direction without warning.

The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code contains advice for the public and landowners.

It has information about rights, responsibilities and liabilities and how we all have a duty to protect the countryside. Together with common sense, it helps to make it easy for visitors to act responsibly and identify possible dangers.

More information about the countryside code (opens in new window)

Fire Operations Group

We are part of the Fire Operations Group, formed in 1996 after a serious moorland blaze. It brings together a partnership of six fire and rescue services, National Park rangers, National Trust wardens, water companies, major landowners and gamekeepers to draw up fire plans, oversee specialist firefighting equipment, raise awareness of moorland fires and their consequences and train for emergencies.

Fire Operations Group

Last updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2023