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urgent press release sent to us by the Urban Heaths Partnership; our dogs as well as ourselves and nearby homes could all be at risk as heath fires can move and spring up quickly and unpredictably; the wildlife toll can also be high, some of the rangers who you may have met leading us on guided walkies also have the horrible job of collecting wounded or dead animals after fires.

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With temperatures set to go above 30 degrees celsius this week, making parts of the country hotter than Athens and Rio de Janeiro, we become more susceptible to Wildfires that are common place in countries that regularly reach these temperatures.

Hot and breezy weather increases the risk of wildfires on heaths across our area. Other parts of the country have already suffered from wildfires such as the fire on Saddleworth Moor in the Peak District over the weekend.

Help the Urban Heaths Partnership and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service protect these precious areas by keeping your eyes and ears open and report any flames or smoke you see.

If you are on a heath when a fire occurs please leave by the nearest exit and call 999 with as much information as possible. Please remember a heathland fire can move at speeds faster than an Olympic sprinter.

Paul Attwell, Team Manager at The Urban Heaths Partnership commented “heathland wildfires can be devastating to endangered plants and animals but also put firefighters, the public and homes in danger. Please take additional care and be extra vigilant during the hot spell and report anything that looks like a possible fire, don’t wait and think someone else will report it”

It is illegal to light a camp fire or barbecue on any heathland site and anyone caught starting a fire on a heath will be prosecuted.

Please remember if you see a fire get to safety and call 999. To report any non-urgent information call 101.

Alfie looking smugAlfie meets a baby rook!

Do you remember this video? Download the video to see a baby rook finding his wings!

You can hear the rookery tenants in the background - including the parents no doubt.

There are lots of young birds and animals around, keep your eyes peeled and your ears open when you're out walking and the chances are you'll see some of the exuberant life that's around at this time of year!  It also does us good to leave behind the worries and to-do lists racing around your head and tune into the natural world around instead - even in the midst of a town there are birds, beetles and other wildlife bustling around us.

Unfortunately all this young life means there are also a lot more vulnerable animals around, not just wildlife but sheep, cows and other grazing animals are vulnerable too so do be aware and keep dogs on lead if you're on a field or area they call home. There have been some distressing incidents this year with animals being chased, attacked and even killed; so whilst there are many many grazing animals that never have any problems caused by dogs even well-behaved dogs can go off the rails occasionally and the results can be tragic.

On the heaths (as well as other areas like some wetlands and downs) we need to keep our dogs on the paths with us through spring and summer as there are special birds like nightjars (other examples include skylarks, lapwings and woodlarks) nesting on the ground. Elsewhere there may be young too, so watch out for where you are and whether it's great for off-lead or needs to be on lead - find off-lead places on the out and about pages and check out the doggy do code so you can avoid nasty incidents with your dog and wildlife. https://www.dorsetdogs.org.uk/dorset-dogs-doggy-do-code.html - click the headlines of each bit of the code to find out more about the reasons why it matters.

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DD with christmas hat

We wish you all a very happy Christmas & New Year with wonderful wintry walks and lots of wagging tails!
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Dog at Arne credit Emma StephensHelp give nature a home this Christmas and receive a FREE sustainable Christmas tree in return.  Dogs on lead welcome.

RSPB Arne reserve near Wareham, today announced the date for the 11th Pull a Pine for Christmas public event. On Saturday 2nd December between 11am and 3pm visitors can turn up when ever they like, stay as long as they want and have some fun removing small pine trees from the Heathland.  Follow this link to find out more.

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