During the Easter holidays from 29th March until 15th April 2013 Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 18 grass fires in the western area of the county. 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.
"Young people who start grass fires seem oblivious to the fact that they are endangering their own lives as well as firefighters," Glynn Luznyj, Head of Risk Reduction.
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.
“As well as running the campaign, we put on a StreetStadiaTM events in Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley during the school holidays to encourage youngsters to engage in a positive activity. StreetStadiaTM is a portable sporting arena that was launched by Cannock firefighters for young people aged eight to 17. The StreetStadiaTM transforms open space into a dynamic sporting arena.
“Our prevention work also includes visiting schools 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.
“We would encourage 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.
“Our ultimate aim is to bring about a culture change which makes fire setting socially unacceptable.”
There were a total of 187 grass fires over the Easter school holidays. The vast majority – 146 - were in the northern service delivery group area. There were 22 in the eastern service delivery group area and 18 in the western service delivery group.