Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is making a plea to people visiting the countryside to leave barbecues at home and take extreme care to avoid starting a fire.

With rising temperatures and drier conditions expected, many parts of the UK countryside are at higher risk of blazes from barbecues and abandoned campfires, the insurer warns.

Last year moorland, grass and forest fires resulted in devastating damage to wide areas of the British countryside and served as a stark warning about the dangers of wildfires.

Rebecca Davidson, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Dry, sunny weather and huge numbers of people descending on the countryside increases the risk of fires – putting the lives of people, farm animals and wildlife in danger as well as damaging valuable crops.

“We’re urging people to act considerately when out and about in the countryside. Please don't use disposable barbecues or start camp fires in farmland or woods, and don't leave litter and rubbish lying around.”

NFU Mutual countryside fire checklist:

·         Don’t drop used matches or cigarettes – they can smoulder and start a fire

·         Don’t start campfires or use disposable barbecues on grass, moorland or in forests

·         Call 999 if you spot a fire while out in the countryside

·         Avoid parking in narrow country lanes where emergency services vehicle

·         access could be blocked

·         Don’t drop litter – discarded bottles can focus sunlight and start a fire

·         Keep to footpaths when walking in the countryside