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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Grass Fires Devastate Beauty Spots

02/04/2012

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has re-launched its grass fires campaign to combat deliberately started grass fires and is reminding people that starting fires not only endangers lives but destroys Staffordshire’s natural beauty as well.

"We are lucky in Staffordshire to have a range of beautiful countryside areas to enjoy so for some members of our community to deliberately destroy these areas is appalling."

Head of Risk Reduction, Glynn Luznyj

Since the launch of Flames Aren’t Games last week, the Service has attended 63 grass fires countywide, all started deliberately and some requiring over 30 firefighters to deal with the incident.

Popular beauty spots across Staffordshire, such as the Roaches in the Staffordshire Moorlands, Parkhall Country Park in Stoke-on-Trent, Cannock Chase and the Hednesford Hills are hit by grass fires every year and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service wants to put a stop to it.

Head of Risk Reduction, Glynn Luznyj said: "A grass fire can quickly destroy an entire ecosystem which can then take years to recover or may never recover.

"Animals are also at risk, both wild and livestock, which makes the firefighter’s job even more difficult. If there is a grass fire nearby a field full of cows for example, we have to make sure the cows are moved to safe place which can be a very dangerous task as they are large animals which are easily spooked.

"Grass fires quickly burn down underground and can continue to burn for a very long time which means firefighting resources have to keep a constant presence to monitor underground hotspots. In previous years we’ve been in attendance at the same grass fire for over a week because it has spread so deep underground.

"Fire can completely kill off vast grassy areas and destroy trees which are hundreds of years old. That area isn’t likely to ever recover from the effects of the fire and the aftermath is a large blackened area which ruins the surrounding countryside.

"We are lucky in Staffordshire to have a range of beautiful countryside areas to enjoy so for some members of our community to deliberately destroy these areas is appalling.

"What people who start such fires need to consider is that if we’re tied up for hours dealing with a fire they’ve started then we’re not available to attend genuine emergencies which could result in a delay in reaching someone trapped in a house fire or car crash.

"One day it could be their family member, friend or even themselves who desperately need our help but instead we’re battling to extinguish a fire they started."