Wildfire risk prompts warning on Dartmoor National Park as heatwave continues

The hot weather means that is an increased danger of wildfires on Dartmoor Credit: ITV West Country

Dartmoor National Park is warning of an increased risk of wildfires as temperatures are set to soar this weekend.

It comes as the Met Office says large swathes of Dartmoor are at risk of severe fires with risk levels rising from 'high' to 'very high' over the coming weekend.

Park officials say the fires can cause 'catastrophic' damage to natural habitats, kill animals and endanger other people.  

People who plan to spend time in the park are being urged to be vigilant and are being told not to use barbecues or camping stoves and to take extreme care when disposing of cigarettes and matches.  

Wildfires can start rapidly from things like a disposable barbecue, a match thrown out of a car window or even empty glass bottles left in the sunshine.

Head of recreation, access and estates Andrew Watson said: “We want people to enjoy Dartmoor and urge them to do as much as they can to prevent a fire breaking out.

"We're particularly concerned at the moment because the exceptionally hot and dry weather has made moorland vegetation extremely vulnerable to fire risk. 

"Fires spread very quickly and cause untold damage."

Signs into the park are being changed to warn of fire risks and Dartmoor Rangers will be out and about as usual making sure people are keeping safe.