News release text
Firefighters spent Wednesday evening (30 July), tackling six outdoor fires in a six hour period after blazes around the county.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Community Safety, Lee Rose, said: “The warm, dry weather can lead to an increase in the number of call outs to grassland, woodland, heathland and countryside fires. So please make sure you always dispose of rubbish and cigarettes carefully – even a glass bottle or broken glass can start a fire on a hot sunny day.”
The first happened in Bluebell Hill, Maidstone at 4.45pm yesterday afternoon. Fire crews used a hose reel to extinguish a blaze involving standing corn, which also affected a fence, and were at the scene for approximately 40 minutes.
Ten minutes later, Thames-side firefighters were called to a fire involving approximately 200 tonnes of baled straw in Station Road, Southfleet. They spent over five hours damping the fire down to prevent it spreading and worked with the farmer to help create a fire break. They left the scene shortly after 11pm.
Sheppey and Sittingbourne crews were called to School Lane, Iwade at 5.19pm. Hose reel jets and beaters were used to fight the fire which involved two acres of standing corn and took approximately an hour to put out.
Firefighters from Tonbridge and Paddock Wood also responded to a bonfire that had spread to a field setting stubble alight in Beltring Road, Paddock Wood at 6.11pm. Crews made good progress and were damping down hotspots until 7pm.
Flexpacks and beaters were used to tackle a grass fire in Bridge Mill Way, Tovil just before 8.30pm. The fire is believed to have been started deliberately.
Then, shortly after 9pm, a Cranbrook crew tackled a large unattended bonfire in Common Road, Sissinghurst using two hose reels and a water shuttle. The fire was brought under control by 10.05pm.
Lee added: “If you’re planning on having a bonfire make sure it’s away from property, fences or trees and never leave any fire unattended. If your bonfire gets out of control, never try to tackle it yourself, always call the fire and rescue service.”
You can help reduce the risk of outdoor fires this summer by:
Stub it out - carelessly discarded cigarettes can set light to grass verges and grassland areas
It is illegal to light any fire, including barbeques, on most heathland but if you do have the landowner’s permission make sure bonfires and barbecues are fully extinguished
Take your litter home with you – even a glass bottle can start a fire on a hot day
Don’t accumulate rubbish as it can act as potential fuel for deliberate fire setters
Contact your local district or borough council to ask about disposal of unwanted furniture, or to report abandoned vehicles or fly tipped waste (Clean Kent 24 hour reporting line 0845 345 0210)
If you are a parent ensure that your youngsters are aware of the dangers of fire
Report any information on fire setting activities and those responsible (anonymously if need be) to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
If you do see a fire, don’t attempt to tackle it yourself. Call 999 and leave the area as quickly as possible
Give the location of the fire as accurately as you can
Call us today for more fire safety advice on 0800 923 7000 (free from landlines or get advice here.