AN ALERT has been issued amid fears the hot weather could result in wildfires breaking out in the New Forest.

Residents and visitors to the national park are being reminded that barbecues and campfires in the district are banned.

Recent hot weather has left much of the area tinder dry - and the heatwave is expected to peak today.

With temperatures set to hit highs of 28c, businesses grappling with the cost of living crisis are gearing up to deal with extra customers.

Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre in Southampton Common will be open for business, selling cakes, sandwiches, and hot and cold drinks.

Having only been open for five weeks, staff at Coffee & Friends, Kerry Chalk and Vanessa Riley, say they may have had an “uphill climb starting the café in the current economy”.

However, the two said they are expecting the heatwave to be great for business this weekend.

Aidan Lavin, co-owner of Dancing Man Brewery on Town Quay, is also expecting punters to come out to enjoy the sunshine.

He said: “As I look out the window there are about 100 people outside the front. We’re very much expecting a spike in trade.

“Staffing is always a problem but we’re doing okay at the moment. We will be asking everybody to dig a bit deeper this month.”

Daily Echo: Gary BurkeGary Burke

Gary Burke works part-time in a Mr Whippy ice cream van that splits its time between Southampton Common and Mayflower Park.

The 69-year-old said: “We’ve had to put our prices up to reflect the cost of living.”

However, instead of planning for big business over the heatwave, Gary’s philosophy is to simply “take it as it comes”.

Dr Debbie Chase, Director of Public Health at Southampton City Council, has issued some advice on how to stay safe during the heatwave.

She said: “It’s important to drink plenty of water and avoid being out in the sun during the hottest part of the day (around midday).

“If you have to go out in the heat, keep in the shade, apply sunscreen, and wear a hat and light clothing. For those who will be indoors, we encourage you to close your curtains or blinds in rooms that face the sun.”

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