Fire fighters and Dartmoor National Park rangers have issued a fire prevention warning to people enjoying the outdoors as the dry warm weather continues.

Although this year the dry and hot conditions have not reached the level of last summer, emergency services are keen the high number of wild fires does not happen again and want people to be aware of how they can reduce the risk of uncontrolled blazes in parched vegetation.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: ‘Although we are well trained and resourced to deal with wildfires, we need everyone’s help to reduce the likelihood of them happening. We have had a number of people getting in touch this week concerned about wildfires. There is a lot we can all do to reduce the risk.’

Glenn Arundel, Tavistock Fire Station commander, said: ‘Most wildfires are started by human behaviour – a BBQ, campfire, discarded cigarette, or glass lying on dry ground magnifying the sun’s rays. They can also sometimes start due to a bonfire, which was intended to be controlled, getting out of control.

‘Wildfires are mostly started by people — either deliberate or accidental. On rare occasions, fires can be started by a lightning strike or heart building up inside grass and hay.’

He said: ‘Please don’t have BBQs or campfires in the countryside, or on any grassland during this very dry weather. If you’re a smoker, please take extreme care with how you put out your cigarettes and dispose of the, don’t just drop them on the ground or throw them out of the window while you are driving.

‘Don’t leave litter, and pick it up if you see it. Don’t leave it to someone else. Discarded litter, in particular glass bottles, pose a fire risk when the sun’s rays are magnified through it.’

Fires can also get out of control in gardens and spread easily to neighbouring gardens and even homes and outbuildings, a bonfire spread earlier this week in Lamerton. Glenn said: ‘Avoid having bonfires at the moment. To reduce the risk of bonfires spreading, we’d like people to cutback vegetation between homes. Last summer we sent units to a bonfire which became a major fire because it spread over several gardens, sheds and other outbuildings, which wasn’t helped by a lot of overgrown vegetation.

‘The fire service is asking anyone planning a bonfire or other controlled burn to let it know by calling 0333 399 0014. This is so the service can check in with anyone with a bonfire if 999 calls report a fire in the same area. This helps stops firefighters being out to bonfires when they not needed because they are fully under control.

Dartmoor National Park Authority advised people not to use open fires and barbecues on open moorland in the park: ‘Fires spread quickly across moorland vegetation and can be devastating to the landscape and wildlife, especially ground nesting birds. Fires also put livestock and members of the public at risk.

‘During periods of prolonged dry weather there is a very high fire risk, please do not use open fires and barbecues on all open moorland within the National Park.’