Temperatures will hit highs of 32C in parts of Wales this week as another heat wave hits the UK – raising concern in Wales’ national parks, after months of low precipitation.
Although temperatures will remain below last month’s record 37C, the Met Office’s Fire Severity Index (FSI), an assessment of how severe a fire could become if it were to ignite, predicts ” high” or “very high” for the three national parks of Wales by this weekend.
In response, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Snowdonia National Park Authority – jointly known as National Parks of Wales – ask visitors to avoid using disposable barbecues, this week and beyond.
Judith Harvey, Warden Manager at Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, said: “The summer weather provides a great excuse to explore Wales’ national parks – but as the country heads into another heat wave, we ask our visitors to take a picnic instead of a disposable one. barbecues.
Disposable barbecues pose a daily risk to the natural landscapes and wildlife of the National Parks of Wales, but the current drought conditions of our mountain ranges and forests make outdoor cooking appliances even more dangerous. Diolch in advance to every visitor who thinks best to bring one on their next visit to the great outdoors of Wales.
The request comes after a 100ft blaze took more than 5 hours to be extinguished by Brecon firefighters last week – dry tinder conditions causing 150 bales of hay to burn.
Richie Vaughan-Williams, Arson Reduction Manager, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: ‘It is everyone’s responsibility to protect our countryside from fires of forest. Many fires are started deliberately, but some occur out of negligence or boredom. It’s frustrating when our fire crews can then be detained for hours in harsh conditions trying to stop the damage, which means they are sometimes delayed to respond to other emergencies. I encourage everyone to think about their actions when taking advantage of the campaign and avoid starting fires.
“We must work together to support our communities, to keep our family and friends, our neighbours, members of the public and our emergency services safe. Grass fires reduce air quality and keep valuable emergency services away from vital incidents, so we’re calling on everyone to help us help them.
Richard Vaughan, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority ranger and part-time firefighter, said: “After the driest year since 1976 and record summer temperatures, we are facing conditions of almost -drought in West Wales which, combined with an improperly laid out disposable barbecue, could prove disastrous in rural areas.
“With more people set to enjoy the fabulous scenery of Pembrokeshire over the next few weeks, it’s important to remember that in hot, dry conditions like this, even a discarded cigarette or glass bottle can start a fire. devastating.”
Adam Daniel, Head of Wardens at the Snowdonia National Park Authority, said: “The very real risk of disposable barbecues is worrying, but it is not the only concern we face. Since the start of the pandemic, we have also seen an increase in wild campfires, which are just as dangerous, if not more so, than disposable barbecues. Not to mention the dangers of inappropriate clothing or poor planning when exploring Wales’ national parks during a heatwave.
“We thank all of our visitors who pack responsibly for their outdoor activities this summer – making sure to include summer essentials, from SPF cream to sun hats and plenty of water. It’s also a good idea to check the forecast weather conditions before traveling and consider whether a hike is a good idea. Falling down with something like heat stroke can be life threatening, while also putting a huge strain on our mountain rescue teams.
Other trends that have increased in Wales over the past two years include littering, fly camping, illegal motorhomes and dog-worried sheep – each of which has increased in direct parallel to the increase in visitors seeking outdoor escapes during and after the pandemic. According to National Parks Wales, many of these are new audiences, unfamiliar with the guidelines encompassed by the Countryside Code.
To address these issues, National Parks Wales is embarking on “Diolch” – a summer campaign designed to raise awareness of the wider countryside code. Alongside today’s advice on disposable barbecues, the campaign will work to educate potential visitors on everything from responsible dog walking to rules around wild camping and even parking etiquette.