New Forest visitors urged not to smoke in bid to reduce fire risk

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Recent fires included one at Pennington Common on July 30

Visitors to a national park have been urged not to smoke in a bid to reduce the risk of wildfire.

The National Trust, which manages large areas of the New Forest in Hampshire, has also asked people not to light fires or have barbecues on its land.

The trust said the countryside and wildlife remained "at a very high risk from wildfire" while high temperatures continue to hit the country.

Images were released last month showing the damage caused by previous fires.

Media caption,

Drone footage showed how close the fire in Pennington came to homes

In a statement, the trust said: "We're continuing to appeal to people to help us protect these special places by taking extra care when they visit, by not lighting fires or barbeques, and not smoking as cigarettes can be a fire hazard if not properly extinguished."

A ban on barbecues in the New Forest was introduced ahead of last summer while in 2020 local shops were asked not to sell disposable barbecues, following a series of blazes in the national park.

Last month, firefighters from 10 stations across Hampshire spent hours tackling a two-hectare gorse fire at Pennington Common, near Lymington.

A second blaze broke out at the site a few days ago.

Fire services across the country issued several warnings over the past weeks as England faced the driest July since 1935.

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