Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning of the dangers of fires in the outdoors following another deliberate fire in the county.
Temperatures are set to soar this weekend, making conditions ideal for fires to start easily and spread quickly.
The warning comes after firefighters were called to several grass fires in the last week including a serious blaze off Cocksparrow Lane, Huntington, at 4.36pm yesterday (Thursday May 17). Crews attended from Cannock, Chase Terrace and Penkridge, the water carrier from Cannock also attended. Firefighters used a main jet and beaters to extinguish the fire which involved an area of heathland and trees measuring approximately 40metres by 30metres. Crews left the incident at around 6.10pm. It is believed the fire was started deliberately.
The incident followed two other serious fires in the open which occurred just days before; one on Sunday May 13 on Gentleshaw Common which was attended by several fire appliances along with three special appliances; and another at Mile Oak, Froghall, at 3.25pm the same day which was attended by five crews and a water carrier.
Director of Prevent Glynn Luznyj said:
“We are set to enjoy a warm and sunny weekend, but this means that the conditions will be very dry leaving heathland and beauty spots very fire prone.
“We’re calling for parents to warn their children about the dangers of starting fires and explain just how serious the consequences are; anyone starting fires deliberately could receive a £5,000 fine or a prison sentence. There is also the irreversible damage to the environment and wildlife, and the hours firefighters spend tackling
these fires when they could be needed elsewhere.
“Likewise we ask that the public take care if they are out enjoying the countryside; make sure you dispose of cigarettes properly in dedicated bins, as it is not enough to simply drop them and stamp on them assuming they will be out. Never throw them out of car windows – they could start a fire and destroy the countryside. It only takes a very small amount of heat left in a discarded cigarette to ignite dry vegetation.
“This year’s Flames Aren’t Games campaign is underway; aiming to highlight the dangers of setting fires. Any fire has the risk of hurting someone but these grass fires are especially dangerous as they spread very quickly and take considerable to time to get under control, particularly in hot dry weather like we have seen over the last month.”
For more information on the campaign visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/campaigns/flames-arent-games/