EMERGENCY services have issued a warning in the run-up to what is expected to be one of the country's hottest weekends this year.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service say they have tackled almost 300 open fires this month alone - and are urging residents to be wary of wildfires as they head outdoors to enjoy the soaring temperatures.

It comes as thousands of people are set to take to the streets for key summer events. Saturday will see Race For Life kids on Southampton Common and in Eastleigh, with Fair Oak Carnival from 2pm and Armed Forces Day at Gang Warily in Blackfield.

On Sunday thousands of army and navy veterans will parade through Southampton City Centre for Armed Forces Day, while Race For Life adults takes place on Southampton Common from 10am.

Fifty Ferraris will go on show in Lymington for Italy Day.

As reported the mercury hit a high this week - with temperatures in Southampton reaching 27 degrees on Friday. HFRS say many of the fires they have tackled have been caused by barbecues not properly extinguished, glass bottles being left out in the sun or out of control bonfires or campfires.

An amber wildfire alert is currently in place - which means "be prepared."

HFRS's New Forest Group Manager Steve Ash said: “At the moment the weather is beautiful and people are out enjoying that weather.

“We have additional cycle patrols, specialist vehicles and wildfire mapping to ensure we are as prepared as possible for any wildfires that should occur.

“We ask the public to do their bit in helping us prevent these fires happening in the first place.

“What this means is taking everything away with you after a picnic or barbecue to ensure nothing is left behind that could start a fire.

“Also make sure you only have a barbecue or light a fire in a designated area and that everything has been properly extinguished before you leave.

“In the unfortunate case of there being a fire we ask that you get to a place of safety and call 999 immediately so we can put it out before it does significant damage to the countryside we all enjoy.”