Firefighters have been working to extinguish a fire on the sand dunes in Southport on Monday, April 20, 2020

People are being urged to stay away from the coast and maintain social distancing after a fire in the sand dunes in Southport last night. 

Sefton Council is urging residents to heed countless warnings around social distancing after a rise in the number of people visiting the coast and an increase in dune fires.

Several hundred people were seen visiting parts of Sefton’s coastline this weekend after ignoring life saving health advice amidst efforts to curb the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

To make matters worse Merseyside Fire & Rescue, along with Green Sefton staff, were called to a blaze in the dunescape near to Southport on Monday evening, with the cause understood to have been man-made. 

Southport sand dunes wildfire blaze tackled by firefighters

While outdoor exercise is encouraged, the number of people who have congregated on beaches and the coast, especially during an increase in warm weather, is a cause for concern.

 Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The message is clear and there is no excuse for anyone ignoring the severity of this situation. 

 “We actively encourage responsible and measured exercise time but to see such high numbers of people gathering in close quarters is highly concerning.

“Fires have also broken out on our protected dunescape and this is incredibly damaging to our wildlife. While the exact causes are unknown, it is clear they started as a result  of human interference.

“Our coast is not going anywhere. It will remain in place ready to welcome you when it is safe to do so but now is not that time. 

 “Residents are urged to stay home and only go outside if it is essential to do so. We are working incredibly hard with our partners across a number of professions to ensure our communities are as resilient as possible as we tackle COVID-19 but we need your help.

 “The most important action we can all take at this time is to follow the Government’s advice in order to protect the NHS and save lives.”

 For more information on community services, support and guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit


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