KFRS urges people to do their bit to prevent devastating grass fires

25 May 2021

Public, Seasonal safety

Grass, crop and woodland fires can have a devastating impact, injuring or killing wildlife, destroying property and livelihoods, and even putting people’s lives at risk.

As we enter peak season for these types of incidents, residents, workers and visitors are being urged to do their bit to reduce the number of accidental grass fires across the county. 

Most happen between May and September when grassland can get very dry, and many are caused by out of control bonfires, as well as careless disposal of hot smoking materials, and disposable barbecues.

In a bid to crack down on these largely avoidable types of incidents and make the county safer for everyone, KFRS has launched an accidental grass fire prevention campaign which will educate the public about what they can do to help and stay safe.

"These types of fires can have devastating consequences"

Colin King, KFRS’ Assistant Director for Customer Engagement and Safety, said: “In 2020 our crews responded to 617 accidental grass fires, many of which were preventable.

“Grass, crop and woodland fires have the potential to take hold and spread rapidly, especially in warmer months when grassland can be very dry – 83% of last year’s accidental grass fires happened between May and September.

“These types of incidents can have devastating consequences, therefore it’s important that everyone living, visiting and working in the county plays their part in preventing them from happening in the first place – something we hope this campaign will help to achieve.”

The campaign will highlight simple things people can do to avoid accidentally starting grass fires, and as a result protect themselves, the local community, property and wildlife. Such as:

  • When lighting a bonfire, keep it to a manageable size, make sure it’s well clear of greenery and property, and always supervise it while it’s burning. Avoid having a bonfire in windy weather.
  • Dispose of smoking materials responsibly, making sure they’re fully stubbed out and cooled before being put in a bin - consider using a portable ashtray when on the go.  Place disposable barbecues on a sturdy, non-flammable surface when cooking, away from greenery and property, and only place in a bin once fully cool. 

Colin added: “Grass fires often require a large amount of fire service resources and can take hours, days or even weeks in complex cases, to fully extinguish. This campaign is all about working together with the public to drive the number of accidental grass fires down, keeping people safe and freeing up our crews to respond to other, less-preventable emergencies.

“While everyone can play their part in this, it is inevitable that grass fires will still occur and we advise people not to try and tackle grass fires, or any fire, themselves - instead to move to a safe place and call 999. We will always be here to respond when people need us.”