Senin, 20 Desember 2010

Fire risk rising in the Lake District

Continued extreme temperatures and drought have put the Lake District in serious danger of countryside fires. In the wake of record breaking temperatures a warning has gone out not to light fires in the countryside or abandon portable barbecues – walkers are being asked to take extra care and all tourists are asked be extra vigilant to allow a fast response to any fires.

The unusually hot dry summer we are having across the UK has left several areas very dry. The Lake District is no exception and has been baking hot resulting in vast areas of parched land.

Although there have been no serious fires for around three years, the Lake District National Park Authority is calling for vigilance in cutting down risks to tinderbox dry grass and bracken – walkers are seen as one of the key lines of defence as at this time of year there are lots of walkers and they can give an early alert to danger.

“We’ve had a prolonged dry spell and it only needs a spark from a fire or barbecue to ignite one of these dried out areas and the ramifications could be very serious,” said ranger Graham Standring.

“Portable barbecues are a particular nightmare as they remain hot for a long time and people leave them behind. They not only burn the ground but in these weather conditions pose very real fire risks.”

Ranger manager Sara Clarke said the hot weather was bringing out hordes of people from dawn to dusk and many were having picnics and barbecues.

“It’s great that so many are enjoying this Mediterranean weather, but we would just ask that portable barbecues are placed on stones, rather than directly on the ground,” said Sara. “Please don’t leave them unattended and clear them away once cooled.”

“Hopefully it’s too hot for fires, but if people are tempted I would ask them to consider very carefully the huge risks they would be posing to the countryside. Fires can start so very easily in these conditions and spread rapidly.”

If proper care is taken there should be no problems but it only takes one mistake and a huge area of land, fauna and flora can be severely damaged and take many years to recover.

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