News release text
Kent firefighters are urging residents to heed safety warnings after seeing almost 50 outdoor fires over the past week.
With the good weather set to continue into the May bank holiday weekend, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is highlighting the number of call outs to grassland, woodland, heathland and countryside fires.
From 24 to 30 April, there have been 49 outdoor fires across the county, 30 of which are believed to have been started deliberately. These include bin fires, unattended bonfires and a barbecue.
KFRS Head of Community Safety Stuart Skilton said: “After such a wet summer last year, we are all hoping to get outdoors but fires during fine weather are a major issue for our crews as they can spread easily and destroy thousands of acres of countryside, crops and wildlife habitats. This puts enormous demands on our resources as well as posing a serious threat to lives and homes.”
He added: “We are appealing to people to ensure that they take extra care not to start fires, whether it is simply disposing of cigarettes in a responsible manner, to being fire safe with outdoor activities such as camping and barbecuing. Parents can help us by reminding their children of how starting a fire could mean a huge fine or even a prison sentence. By following our simple safety tips you will help protect the countryside, and help to prevent fires starting in the first place.”
· Keep matches and lighters out of the way of children and remind them that they are not toys
· If you are a parent you are strongly advised not to leave young people to wander in the countryside unsupervised. Ensure that they are aware of the dangers of fire
· Don't light fires in the countryside or drop litter which could be set alight
· Don't accumulate rubbish which can act as potential fuel for deliberate fire setters
· Contact your local district or borough council to arrange collection of unwanted furniture, or to report abandoned vehicles or fly tipped waste (Clean Kent 24 hour reporting line – 0845 345 0210)
· Report any information about illegal fire setting activities and those responsible (anonymously) to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.