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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 or glass bottle, 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:

  • Forestry England has repeated warnings to the public about the high risk of wildfires and confirmed that fires of any type, including disposable BBQs are not permitted on the land they manage. They have also closed all of our BBQ facilities at popular visitor spots in the New Forest.
  • 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 leave glass of any kind on road verges or the forest floor; glass bottles and even broken glass can magnify the sun and lead to a dangerous 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
  • the lighting of sky lanterns is prohibited in the New Forest due to the risk of wild fires and harm to wildlife.
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 England website.

Please note that during winter and early spring, Forestry England 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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