Throughout the UK and here on the Island people are being told to resist the temptation of beach fires and forest barbecues after millions of pounds worth of damage to woodlands in the last 5 years.
Popular Island spots for such activities include beaches at Fishbourne, Woodside, Compton, St Helens and Bembridge amongst many more.
Many summer wildfires are started accidentally by lighting fires or disposable barbecues. But one stray spark or an abandoned pile of dying embers can have horrendous consequences for the countryside, decimating wildlife and causing long-lasting damage.
The UK is one of Europe’s least-wooded countries and trees and woodlands are essential in the fight against climate change and boosting biodiversity. Any loss or damage is detrimental for the planet.
Trust head of health and safety Nick Hall said it was imperative those sites are fire-free.
“Fires have huge implications – both in terms of the financial burden and the effect on our woods and wildlife, which can be catastrophic,” he said.
Hall has witnessed the damage done by more than 30 fires across their sites since 2018 – the worst of which caused well in excess of £1m worth of damage.
“One spark really can spell disaster: you’re gambling with the lives of people and animals by taking one on your summer outings.”
With the summer holidays beginning and the potential for prolonged periods of dry spells, the risk of wildfires significantly increases and they can easily get out of control.
Visitors can play their part in protecting woodland by following some simple advice, including staying fire-free, staying on paths, taking dog mess and litter home and protecting wildlife by keeping dogs close.
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