News release text
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to be extra careful not to start fires outdoors after a series of incidents caused daily 999 calls in the Thanet area.
In the last five days, firefighters have been called to eight separate fires including unattended bonfires, a blazing field and dumped rubbish which had been set alight. Firefighters fear it is only a matter of time before an incident causes major damage, possibly injury.
Margate Crew Manager, Shaun Humphries said: “Its important for people to realise that outdoor fires can be unpredictable and behave differently depending on the weather and the conditions. They can spread very quickly and divert crews away from other incidents such as road crashes and house fires, where lives may be in danger.”
On Thursday, (8 August), one pump was called to an unattended bonfire in St Peter’s footpath, Broadstairs. A similar incident occurred the following day (9 August) on an industrial estate in Enterprise Road, Margate, where two crews used a hose reel jet and main jet to tackle a large amount of trade waste that had been left burning unattended.
There were further outdoor fires in Dane Valley Road, Margate on Saturday 10 August when a small quantity of undergrowth was destroyed by fire and, on Sunday 11 August, crews were called to Vere Road, Broadstairs at 10.15pm to reports of an unattended bonfire on an allotment.
Just 15 minutes later the same evening, firefighters were called to Park Road, Birchington to approximately 150 metres of stubble alight in a field, where a hose reel jet was used to tackle the fire, believed to have been caused by children.
On Monday (12 August) Margate crews were called at 2.45am to an unattended garden bonfire in South Eastern Road, Ramsgate and at 9.45pm they extinguished a small fire believed to have been caused when a local resident was burning garden waste in a stubble field.
Less than 30 minutes after returning from this incident, firefighters tackled a blaze involving a large quantity of domestic waste. The fire spread to a fence and telegraph pole. A hose reel jet was used to put the fire out and a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear smoke from neighbouring properties.
Shaun added: “Rather than setting fire to your rubbish, take it to the local tip or contact your local council for advice on how to dispose of it. There’s no need to burn it or dump it, where it can act as a potential fire hazard and be targeted by arsonists.”
Follow our countryside safety advice:
Never leave bonfires and barbecues unattended. These can easily cause major damage and injury
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.
For further fire safety advice go to www.kent.fire-uk.org or call 0800 923 7000