Please don’t light fires in the park; our woodland is tinder dry.
We are told it will rain before the end of the week, but at the moment and for the next few days, the Met Office’s Fire Severity Index stands at very high for much of England, including the whole of Wiltshire. The Fire Severity Index is a measure of how severe a fire could become, not a prediction of how likely it is to start; how likely it is to start depends on our behaviour.
Underfoot, in our copses, is a layer of dead twigs and small branches brought down by the recent high winds; the understorey and undergrowth are drying out; there are piles of dried out brushwood waiting for the shredder. A severe fire would be disastrous and cause incalculable damage to the park and its inhabitants.
There is evidence that people made campfires over the weekend, actually inside the park’s copses, under the trees! Picnickers brought in disposable barbecues; glass bottles were left in the grass where, under strong sunlight, they can start a fire. Please, please be more careful than this.
Sitting around a campfire with a beer and watching the flames is not the danger; the danger is what happens when the people leave without putting out the fire. A barbecue, even one placed on the recycled plastic picnic tables in the picnic area, is not dangerous; it is the ashes, incompletely extinguished, and thrown into the hedge that are the danger.
Our picnic tables, on which somebody placed their barbecue at the weekend. We hope the smell of burning plastic spoiled their dinner.
Firefighters were called to a fire at Thursley Common, a nature reserve in Surrey, on Saturday afternoon. The fire is still burning; it has already destroyed more than 20 hectares of woodland, undergrowth and wildlife. Let’s not be the next one; keep our park safe, please.