The RSPB is teaming up with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services to urge people to safeguard Devon's RSPB nature reserves and surrounding countryside from wildfires this summer.

The appeal is being made to help prevent fires, keep people safe and protect the region's valuable heathland, habitats, and wildlife that lives there ahead of the summer months.

The charity and DSFRS are reminding visitors that barbecues and campfires are not permitted on RSPB England nature reserves, but picnics are welcome to be bought from home. Smokers are being asked to take extra care when smoking and to extinguish cigarettes safely.

Kate Saint, Head of Prevention at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: "As we eagerly await the sunshine, it's crucial to prepare and be aware of the outdoor fire risks in hot weather. Warmer months bring a big increase in wildfires, which spread fast and are hard to predict - risking firefighters' lives and harming plants and wildlife. 

"Taking small actions like properly disposing of rubbish and extinguishing cigarettes can make a significant difference in preventing wildfires – something as simple as a discarded glass bottle could spark a flame from the sun’s rays. And, simply choosing to take a picnic instead of a disposable barbecue, or pre-cooking barbecue food to take out with you, can contribute towards a safe summer for everyone.” 

Wildfires have also been accidentally caused by people who believe they have responsibly extinguished BBQ and campfire flames after use. However, some fires can travel below the ground’s surface.  

For more info about how to prevent Wildfire Outbreaks: