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No wildfires please

During periods of hot, dry weather, especially in the open areas of heathland, please be careful not to set fire to the Forest. One carelessly discarded cigarette could cause a massive and dangerous fire which would destroy a large area of natural habitat, kill countless animals and endanger nearby properties.

What is a wildfire?

A wildfire is an uncontrolled, unwanted or unplanned fire. It can develop very quickly and rapidly spread across very large areas. Its behaviour is unpredictable and it can change direction very quickly and jump across roads and rivers. Wildfires do not start by themselves; virtually all wildfires are started by people, either accidentally or deliberately.

Here are simple steps you can take to make sure you never accidentally start a fire:

  • Only barbecue at the following designated sites where running water is available: Bolderwood, Wilverley and Blackwater – disposable barbecues only on the metal plates fixed to picnic tables. Anderwood, Blackwater, Bolderwood, Hatchet Pond, Linford Bottom, Whitefield Moor and Wilverley car parks – raised non-disposable barbecues only
  • Alternatively, hire a barbecue site at Wilverley or Anderwood car park (to book call 0300 067 4600 or visit the Forestry Commission webpage) or at Lepe Country Park (to book call 023 8089 9108 or visit
  • If you do have a barbecue make sure it is extinguished and disposed of properly
  • Do not discard cigarette ends out of your car window when driving or drop them on the forest floor when walking
  • Never start a campfire in the open forest, it can get out of hand very quickly and spread underground
  • Never drop glass of any kind on the forest floor; it can sometimes start a fire
  • Report any fly-tipping or abandoned vehicles; they may be a fire risk
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children and ensure they understand the dangers of fire
  • Report anyone who is responsible for starting a forest fire
  • Look out for signs which indicate high fire risk areas, be especially careful in these areas and do not barbecue
  • Flying lanterns are not allowed to be released in the New Forest without prior agreement from the Forestry Commission on land they own or manage. The Forestry Commission does not permit any form of fire except in designated or agreed locations and the lanterns add the problems of litter and are potential threats to wildlife/domestic animals.
What to do if I spot a wildfire?

If you spot a wildfire call 999 immediately, try to give your exact location, including any landmarks and if possible meet the fire engine to give directions.

For a day-to-day update of the fire risk in the New Forest visit the Forestry Commission website.

Please note that during winter and early spring, Forestry Commission staff deliberately burn substantial areas of the open forest to stop the heather and gorse getting too tall and old. These fires are well controlled and there are always trained firefighters on hand.

Thank you for your help.

Head of Environment and Rural Economy


'To avoid damage and obstruction, please park only in designated car parks, not on a verge or in gateways.'

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