LANDOWNERS and land managers should only carry out burning right now if absolutely essential, says the fire service.

Due to the current challenges with COVID-19, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) has urged them to exercise caution if setting prescribed fires.

A fire service spokesman said they recognised that, because of a lot of wet weather during the current burn season, there will be a desire to take advantage of good conditions for burning in the run up to the end of the season (on either March 31or April 15) if in an upland area. But if the burns are essential, he asked bosses to ensure they have sufficient personnel and resources to control and extinguish the burn safely. He said that whilst conditions may be good for burning, they could also be supportive of very large wildfires.

Group Manager Kevin Johnston said: “It is essential that Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service continue to provide an effective emergency response in these unprecedented times, so we will require everybody to maintain high levels of fire prevention and protection to reduce the risk of fires to a minimum.”