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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Deliberate Grass Fire on Cannock Chase

27/07/2012

Five fire appliances were tied up for almost five hours last night dealing with a deliberately started fire on Cannock Chase.

"Starting a fire deliberately is not big, funny or clever – it’s a crime and it won’t be tolerated"

Ian Dawson, Station Manager

Crews including Cannock’s unimog and the targeted response vehicle from Stafford, were called to Sherbert Valley in Broadhurst Green at 4.50pm yesterday and on arrival were met with plumes of heavy smoke. Further fire engines were called for from Cannock, Stafford and Chase Terrace as approximately 30 by 30 metres of grass was well alight.

Firefighters battled the flames with hose reel jets and beaters and were only able to leave the scene at 9.40pm

Station Manager, Ian Dawson said: “Firefighters discovered three separate seats of fire which quickly took hold of the area. We had to split the incident into sectors in order to bring the fire under control as quickly as possible.

“Grass fires always take longer than other fires to extinguish as, especially when the ground is very dry, the fire can spread underground and continue to smoulder so we have to spend a long time damping down to prevent re-ignition.

“Once the fire was extinguished a fire investigation was carried out which confirmed our suspicions that the fire had been started deliberately. This week our ‘Flames Aren’t Games’ campaign billboards went up at three locations in the country, one being Stafford Road in Cannock.

“Starting a fire deliberately is not big, funny or clever – it’s a crime and it won’t be tolerated. We work with Staffordshire Police to do everything in our power to find and punish anyone deliberately wasting our time and endangering lives by starting fires maliciously.”

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service launched its Flames Aren’t Games campaign in March in a bid to bring down the number of grass fires the Service attends each year.

So far in 2012 the Service has attended 182 grass fires across the county – just four of those were accidentally started.