FIRE CHIEFS have warned of the "devastating and life-threatening" dangers of barbecues.

Firefighters have seen a surge in forest fires and bonfires spiralling out of control in recent weeks.

Over the weekend crews rushed to tackle a blaze in the New Forest which was sparked by a smouldering and unattended barbecue.

An area of woodland was left charred near Bull Hill however no one was reported as injured.

But now, fire chiefs have slammed careless members of the public.

Station manager for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services, David Hodge said: "With the current heatwave we are seeing a rise in the number of fires involving barbecues in open areas.

"These can have devastating, life-threatening consequences especially at a time when forested areas and woodland beauty spots are at extreme risk of wildfires.

"I would urge the public to avoid having barbecues in public areas.

"And, if having a barbecue in their garden, to always follow our online safety tips."

David's words come just days after a high alert warning was issued due to "tinder-dry conditions".

Firefighters and park authorities have been pleading for the public not to start bonfires or barbecues

Over the next week, there is an incredibly high risk of fire spreading out of control, according to the Met Office.

The national weather and climate service has issued an amber wildfire alert.

Anyone who discovers a wildfire is urged to get to a safe place and then call 999.

They should tell emergency services the exact location and size of the fire.

As previously reported fire crews raced to battle a large blaze which swept through Hampshire woodlands.

Fire crews from Eastleigh, Fareham, Redbridge, Hardley and Hythe rushed to Heatherlands Road, in Chilworth on Tuesday.

Crews remained on the scene until the next day, dampening down the area to stop the wildfire spreading.