Heath fires are at their most devastating during periods of hot and sunny weather when the grass and undergrowth is particularly dry. Fire can travel through gorse and dry undergrowth at astounding speed.
Consequences of uncontrolled fires
Uncontrolled fires threaten leisure activities such as camping and caravanning. But as well as being potentially fatal to humans, the fires threaten wildlife and many areas of beauty across the county. Many animals are unable to escape from fire and will be burnt. Birds can fly away but the nests and eggs that are left behind are destroyed.
What are the causes?
Uncontrolled fires happen for a variety of reasons, including people carelessly dropping cigarettes, leaving rubbish in an area, losing control of barbeques and bonfires, and in a small number of cases deliberately starting fires.
How to prevent wild fires on heathland
Surrey Fire and Rescue investigates incidents of arson on heathland. Following a great deal of work carried out by the Fire Investigation and Arson Reduction team, government funding enabled the establishment of a dedicated 'Arson Task Force'.
However, everyone can help to reduce the risk of fire so that Surrey's countryside remains safe, by taking care during the dry summer months in particular. Firefighters are urging the public to help them to prevent these devastating fires occurring by following this preventative advice:
What to do if a fire does break out in the countryside