Derbyshire people urged to take extra care this weekend to help prevent risk of fire in the countryside

Firefighters have dealt with a number of moorland fires over the last couple of weeks
Firefighters have dealt with a number of moorland fires over the last couple of weeks

People heading out and about in Derbyshire's countryside sites this weekend are being urged to take extra care to prevent the risk of fire.

With the heatwave continuing, Derbyshire County Council is urging people to swap barbecues for picnics to help prevent fire with the ground being tinder gry.

Councillor Simon Spencer, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, said: “We’ve all seen pictures in the news from around Saddleworth Moor and elsewhere. Weeks of hot weather and little rain means grass fires can start really easily and quickly get out of hand.

“No one wants to see our countryside and wildlife harmed so while the dry weather continues we’re asking people to take extra care while out and about in the countryside.”

The warning follows a recent fire at Elvaston Castle Country Park which was thought to have been started deliberately and spread rapidly, damaging an area of the Azalea Gardens and scorching a nearby lime tree.

To prevent any further risk of fire on any of the county council’s country parks and sites, visitors are asked to:

* Leave barbecues at home and take a picnic to the park instead.

* Avoid lighting camp fires as they could quickly spread on such dry ground.

* Avoid smoking in areas of dry vegetation and in all areas please make sure cigarettes are put out properly.

* Put any rubbish in bins or take it home with you, especially glass and plastic bottles as they can magnify sunlight and cause fires if left lying around.

* Call 999 immediately if they see a fire

Further warnings have also been issued about the danger of swimming in open water.

Ponds and reservoirs at the county councils countryside sites may look inviting as temperatures soar. But there may be dangers lurking beneath.

Even though you may be able to swim well in a warm indoor pool, that does not mean you will be able to swim in cold water.

The dangers of open water include:

* Very cold temperatures

* Hidden currents

* Fast flowing water – beware of locks and weirs

* Deep water – it can be difficult to estimate the depth

* There may be hidden rubbish or debris under the surface that can trap, snag or cut

* It can be difficult to get out – banks can be steep, slimy and crumble away

* No lifeguards to help you if you get into difficulty

I* f the water is polluted it could make you ill. For example, Weil’s disease is a form of infection that can be caught through contact with contaminated fresh water.