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Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service

Outdoor
Fire Safety
.

If You See A Fire Outside...

Do not attempt to take on the fire - dial 999 immediately

Help us find the fire by providing a map reference or a landmark

Help us by estimating the size of the area that is burning

Describe the terrain.

Help us by describing the terrain

Evacuate the area as soon as possible

Using a Chimenea or fire pit to keep warm? Please follow our advice to stay safe. 

We want you to enjoy these winter days so when the temperature drops most people find themselves huddled round a warm fire in their garden to keep the chill out. 

 

Using a chimenea is much safer than having an open fire in your garden, as they enclose the majority of the flame, however people need to realise that the heat and flames from them can still be dangerous if they are used incorrectly. 

 

If you are using a chimenea please ensure:

  • The set-up is safe - avoid placing your chimenea on decking or near trees and structures. Also make sure that it is stable and secure on its stand to minimise the risk of it falling over. 

  • Never use chemicals such as petrol to start your fire, instead use kindling to create small fire and then slowly add the larger wood. 

  • The chimenea has a fire guard, if it did not come with one, you can easily make one yourself using mesh wire. The guard will then prevent any hot embers escaping and possibly burning someone. 

  • Make sure children are properly supervised and warn your guests of the dangers too. 

  • Only build small fires - a chimenea is designed for small fires, not big ones, so if you see flames coming out of the chimney or mouth it is too big. 

  • Someone stays to watch it burn - never leave any fire unattended, whether it is a barbecue or in a chimenea. 

  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the fire.

  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or garden hose nearby. 

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Annually, fires destroy thousands of acres of countryside in the UK. Some of these fires can become wildfires and can be significant in size. Wildfires can damage property and the environment, and they can pose a significant risk to people and vital infrastructure. 
 
The risk of fires in the countryside is high, members of the Northumberland Fire Group will display extreme fire risk notices on footpaths and in car park areas.  
 
If you see a notice, please exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant. If you see a fire, call 999 immediately and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service. 

 

You can help us to reduce the likelihood of wildfires by following these simple precautions: 

 

Always: 
 

  • extinguish all campfires and barbecues properly 

  • dispose of all smoking material properly, ensuring it is completely extinguished 

  • take any litter home with you 

  • clear away any bottles, glasses and any unbroken glass – magnification from sun rays could cause a fire 

Never: 
 

  • leave campfires or barbecues unattended and always extinguish them properly after use 

  • dispose of hot ash from campfires or barbeques as this can cause fires. Wait for ash to cool before disposal. 

  • light a campfire or barbecue if you have seen an extreme fire risk notice 

  • use a flying lantern (also known as Chinese, wish or sky lantern) 

If you see a fire in the countryside, call 999 immediately. 

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Keep you, your family and friends safe when you use a barbecue by following these simple steps: 

 

Always: 

  • ensure the barbecue is placed on a flat surface, at least 10 metres away from buildings, fences, trees and shrubs 

  • keep water nearby in case of an emergency 

  • in the countryside, please use designated areas only and do not use a barbecue if you see an extreme fire risk notice 

  • keep children, pets and games away from the cooking area 

Never: 

  • light a barbecue indoors 

  • leave a barbecue unattended 

  • use petrol or paraffin to start/revive a barbecue 

  • move a barbecue into a caravan or tent 

  • move a hot barbecue – ensure it is cool before moving it 

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Follow our simple steps to ensure the safety of you, your family and friends when camping in tent or staying in a caravan. 
 

Always: 

  • ensure there is a water supply nearby and know where the firefighting equipment is located on site 

  • identify the nearest telephone, in case you need to use it in an emergency 

  • ensure everyone knows how to escape from the caravan or tent, and where they should go once they have escaped 

  • ensure caravans and tents are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars 

  • keep a torch handy to help you see in the dark. Never use candles while camping. 
     

Never: 

  • leave children unaccompanied in a caravan – they are particularly vulnerable 

  • ​leave food cooking unattended 

  • dry clothes over a stove 

  • store fuel under your caravan or in direct sunlight 

  • use a barbecue inside a caravan or tent 

  • cook inside a tent as they are flammable and fire will spread extremely fast 

  • use candles while camping. Keep a torch handy. 

  • smoke inside a caravan or tent 
     

If you are staying in a caravan: 

  • install a smoke alarm. Caravans are confined spaces, so it is vital you get an early warning of a fire.  

  • ​ensure there is a fire blanket near the cooking area 

  • consider placing a fire extinguisher near the caravan entrance, but always read the instructions before use 

  • turn off all appliances before you go to bed 

  • ensure the caravan is well ventilated and never block air vents 
     

If you are staying in a tent: 
 

  • ensure there is at least six metres spacing between tents and parked vehicles 

  • ensure you have the means to cut a way out of the tent if you need to escape in an emergency  

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Beacon Lighting Safety

Beacon Events

  • Please let us know if you are planning to light a beacon. You can fill in this form or call our non-emergency line (01670) 627599 and tell us the exact location (we recommend using theWhat3words app).

  • We will log this as a controlled burn and will help us to avoid sending the fire engines to false alarms

Public Safety

  • Make sure you have a well-constructed cordon between the fire and persons. Minimum of 2 ½ times the height of the bonfire including flames. · Have first aid facilities available. · Make sure you have highly visible marshals who have received instruction to help control the crowd.

Preparing the Beacon

  • Set up the beacon well away from anything that could catch fire.

  • A minimum safe distance of 60m from buildings, roads, railways, overhead power lines and public rights of way is recommended.

  • Take into account wind speed direction try and obtain weather forecast for the day of lighting.

  • Consider where the embers will be blown towards.

  • Ensure the smoke plume will not affect residential areas, roads and access points.

Lighting and Managing the Beacon

  • Never use an accelerant to light a beacon (such as lighter fluid, petrol, paraffin etc.)

  • Only use wood/straw for combustible materials.

  • Light the fire using a long pole and a taper. (Minimum of 2m)

  • Keep an adequate supply of water nearby in case the fire needs extinguishing.

  • When lighting a controlled burn, it is illegal to leave a fire unattended.

  • Ensure you have a competent person in charge at all times.

When the Beacon is Finished

  • Use water to extinguish the fire.

  • Always ensure that the fire is completely out before you leave it and check the next day to ensure that it has not reignited.

  • Never leave the beacon lit and unattended.

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