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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Grass Fires Toll In North Of County

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 146 grass fires in the northern area of the county over the Easter holidays from 29th March until 15th April 2013.

"For every call we receive about a grass fire there could be a person somewhere else desperately trying to get out of a burning building or trapped in a car crash in urgent need of our assistance."

Head of Risk Reduction, Glynn Luznyj

Hotspots included Baddeley, Milton and Norton which had 15 fires, Chesterton which had 11, and Great Chell and Packmoor which experienced nine. There were eight fires at Birches Head and Central Forest Park and also eight at Holditch. 

The Service tends to see an increase in grass fires over the school holidays, which is often due to children and teenagers starting fires deliberately.

This year, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has re-launched its Flames Aren’t Games campaign targeting children and young adults to raise awareness of the dangers of starting fires deliberately.
Head of Risk Reduction, Glynn Luznyj said: "Young people who start grass fires seem oblivious to the fact that they are endangering their own lives as well as firefighters.
"For every call we receive about a grass fire there could be a person somewhere else desperately trying to get out of a burning building or trapped in a car crash in urgent need of our assistance.
"Our prevention work includes visiting schools and youth clubs and engaging with as many youngsters as possible to warn them of the dangers of grass fires and the devastating effect they have on the environment."
Donna Broadhead, Prevention Manager for the Northern Service Delivery Group, added: “We are encouraging parents to remind their children of the dangers of starting grass fires and also ensure they are aware that deliberately starting a fire of any size is treated as arson, the consequences of which if caught are very serious. Young adults convicted of deliberately starting grass fires could receive a prison sentence of up to two years or a maximum fine of £5,000."
She added that over the holidays the Prevent Team had sent Targeted Response Vehicles (TRVs) and crews to areas previously identified as hotspots and also worked closely with local police and the presence of emergency service vehicles had been a useful visible deterrent. Team members would now be returning to schools to reinforce the Flames Aren’t Games messages and the consequences of a criminal conviction for fire-setting.      
                                                                                                                          
The total number of grass fires for the county over the Easter school holiday period was 187. The northern service delivery group had the vast majority at 146. In 2011, there were 110 grass fires over the Easter holidays in North Staffordshire and 154 in 2010. Last year’s figure for the northern district was 81, largely attributed to the wet weather.