Warwickshire firefighters warn residents of grass fire risks following weekend callouts

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Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning residents of the risks of grass fires after attending 25 incidents over the weekend.

This comes after firefighters tackled 25 fires in the open across the county and following the Met Office announcing a level three heatwave.

A number of fires in North Warwickshire were although thought to have been started deliberately.

Arson Reduction Officer Rebecca Roberts said: “We have seen a sharp increase in the number of fires in the open in recent weeks, with a further 25 this weekend. With the extreme heat, the grass and woodland areas across the county are very dry meaning fires spread quickly.

“Unbelievably while a number of these fires have been accidental, some have been deliberately started. We work closely with schools and within communities to engage young people on the risks of fire setting.

“Shockingly we have received reports of adults deliberately starting fires also, which is even more surprising in light of the wide coverage and impact of the moorland fires.

“If you start a fire in parks or woodland areas it will spread very quickly. This means that you are not only endangering yourself by setting the fire, but more importantly, you are also risking the lives of our crews and the communities we serve.

“We are urging those starting fires to think before they act, the last thing we want is to have a major fire on our hands where lives are at risk, when it could so easily have been prevented. Equally we are sure that you don’t want a criminal record and potentially a prison sentence. Let’s put a stop to arson.”

Cllr Andy Crump, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for community fire safety added: “The safety of Warwickshire communities is paramount. Therefore it is essential that residents and those visiting the county play their part to help keep our countryside, parks and woodland areas safe. If you do spot a fire, please do not attempt to deal with it, please call 999 immediately.”

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service have issued the following summer fire safety advice for residents:

Never leave garden fires or barbeques unattended and extinguish them properly after you have finished using them. Always ensure that you have a hose or bucket of water on hand to put the fire out.

Do not discard of cigarettes out of your car window or near fields or grass areas and ensure they are completely extinguished before you leave.

Clear away bottles, glasses and any broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun and starting a fire.

Talk to your children about the dangers of playing with or lighting fires. Explain that what can start as a small fire, can quickly get out of control and have a devastating impact.

If you see any rubbish that has been dumped report it to your local district or borough council.