News release text
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is reminding residents to heed safety warnings after attending over 40 outdoor fires in the last seven days.
With the weather expected to stay dry over the next few days at least, firefighters are asking people to take extra care when out walking in the countryside after a number of call outs to grassland and wooded areas.
From 10 to 17 April, there have been 42 outdoor fires across the county, 31 of which are believed to have been started deliberately and over a third by young people. These include bin fires, unattended bonfires, and grass verges alight.
KFRS Community Safety Manager Charlie Smith said: “After such a wet few months it’s understandable that people want to enjoy the good weather while they can but outdoor fires 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 asking people to ensure that they take extra care not to start fires, whether it’s 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.”
To help stay fire safe while outdoors follow these simple tips:
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.