As half term approaches Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to help drive down the number of grass fires by reporting suspicious behaviour and by educating children about the dangers of starting grass fires.
"We’re urging parents to take time to educate their children about the dangers and serious consequences associated with starting fires."
Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss
Last month firefighters tackled over 400 grass fires across Staffordshire. In the two week Easter period alone, there were 200 deliberately started grass fires.
Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss said: "We’re extremely shocked at the huge amount of grass fires we had last month, particularly during the Easter period. We’re urging parents to take time to educate their children about the dangers and serious consequences associated with starting fires.
"For every grass fire we deal with, it means that firefighters are not available to attend other incidents, some of which could be life threatening. Also what the people who start deliberate grass fires need to realise is that what they are doing is not harmless fun – it is a serious crime.
"We’d like local people to play their part by reporting suspicious behaviour to Crimestoppers or the Police. They can also help by reporting any fires they spot immediately, rather than presuming someone else has already made the call. By being as descriptive as possible with the location we can respond quicker and minimise the amount of damage that these devastating grass fires can cause."
County Councillor Mark Winnington Cabinet Member responsible for the Environment said: "The county council’s Ranger Service is operating a fire watch but we need support from the public to minimise the risk of fires. We would urge anyone who sees anyone behaving suspiciously in the countryside to contact the police.
"We would also urge people to be exceptionally careful. A single carelessly discarded cigarette can cause immense damage in these circumstances. Country Parks are also not the right places for camp fires or barbecues."
Anyone with information on people responsible for deliberately starting grass fires should contact Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.