Keep safe outdoors

Here you will find advice on keeping safe from fire while outdoors.

Outdoor activities are a great way to spend your time. However, some activities have their own unique risks. Reduce this risk by following our advice.

Remember, if you see a fire:

  • Dial 999 immediately.
  • Do not attempt to tackle the fire.
  • Help us find the fire by providing a map reference or a landmark.
  • Estimate the size of the area that is burning.
  • Describe the terrain.
  • Evacuate the area as soon as possible.
Annually, fires destroy thousands of acres of countryside in the UK.

They can be significant in size and can damage property and the environment, as well as posing a significant risk to people and vital infrastructure.

Just 10 seconds of carelessness can cause fires that take 10 hours or more to put out, and decades to regrow. Take care in the countryside and help us to prevent fires.

If the risk of fires in the countryside is high, members of the Northumberland Fire Group will display extreme fire risk notices on footpaths and access routes.

If you see a notice, please exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant.

Help Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service reduce the likelihood of wildfires by following these simple precautions:


  • extinguish all campfires and barbecues properly
  • dispose of all smoking material properly, ensuring it is completely extinguished
  • take any litter home with you
  • clear away any bottles, glasses and any unbroken glass – magnification from sun rays could cause a fire
If you see a fire in the countryside, call 999 immediately.

  • leave campfires or barbecues unattended and extinguish them properly after use
  • dispose of hot ash from campfires or barbeques as this can cause fires. Wait for ash to cool before disposal.
  • light a campfire or barbecue if you have seen an extreme fire risk notice
Keep you, your family and friends safe when you use a barbecue by following these simple steps:

  • ensure the barbecue is placed on a flat surface, at least 10 metres away from building, fences, trees and shrubs
  • keep water nearby in case of an emergency
  • in the countryside, please use designated areas only and do not use a barbecue if you see an extreme fire risk notice
  • keep children, pets and games away from the cooking area
  • light a barbecue indoors
  • leave a barbecue unattended
  • use petrol or paraffin to start/revive a barbecue
  • move a barbecue into a caravan or tent
  • move a hot barbecue – ensure it is cool before moving it
Follow our simple steps to ensure the safety of you, your family and friends when camping or staying in a caravan.

  • locate where water supplies are and other firefighting equipment locations on site
  • locate the nearest telephone, in case of emergency
  • ensure everyone knows how to escape from the caravan or tent, and where they should go once they have escaped
  • ensure caravans and tents are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars
  • keep a torch handy to help you see in the dark. Never use candles while camping.


  • leave children unaccompanied in a caravan – they are particularly vulnerable
  • ​leave food cooking unattended
  • dry clothes over a stove
  • store fuel under your caravan or in direct sunlight
  • use a barbecue inside a caravan or tent
  • cook inside a tent as they are flammable and fire will spread extremely fast
  • use candles while camping. Keep a torch handy.
  • smoke inside a caravan or tent

If you are staying in a caravan:

  • install a smoke alarm. Caravans are confined spaces, so it is vital you get an early warning of a fire. 
  • ​ensure there is a fire blanket near the cooking area
  • consider placing a fire extinguisher near the caravan entrance, but always read the instructions before use
  • turn off all appliances before you go to bed
  • ensure the caravan is well ventilated and never block air vents

If you are staying in a tent:

  • ensure there is at least six metres spacing between tents and parked vehicles
  • ensure you know how cut your way out of the tent if you need to escape
These are also known as Chinese, wish or sky lanterns.

Traditional lanterns go back thousands of years in both Chinese and Thai cultures, but are becoming more popular worldwide for celebrations such as weddings.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service fully supports the position statement released by the Chief Fire Officer’s Association in July 2013 regarding the use of flying lanterns.

We do not support the use of these devices and ask both the public and event organisers to refrain from using them.
This wildfire prevention toolkit has been developed for the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and provides a collection of best practice from the UK and internationally.

Wildfires are a growing problem for the UK and can have a significant impact on property, the environment, the economy, infrastructure and communications. More importantly, wildfires pose a significant risk to the safety of firefighters, members of the public and communities alike.

CFOA are driving the work nationally to move the UK towards a structured, holistic, approach to wildfire preparedness, prevention, and intervention. A key focus of this work is to emphasise and promote close partnership working by all key stakeholders. This wildfire prevention toolbox, representing a collection of the best practice available around both the UK and internationally, represents an important step in this work.
The Health and Safety Executive has published revised guidance for industry stakeholders and operators of inflatable equipment. These simple precautions can help you avoid serious incidents, whether you supply or buy bouncy castles and inflatables, are hiring one for an event, or operate them.