Bush and grass fire warning

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WARWICKSHIRE County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service are warning about the dangers of small fires after attending a number of bush and grass fires.

From January 2011, the service has attended 389 small fires in different areas of the county.

This includes grass, bushes and small fires in woodland areas. Whilst some of these incidents have been deliberate, a number have been started by natural occurrences such as glass bottles which can concentrate the sun’s rays.

Incidents such as these can be prevented as long as people respect the countryside, park areas and open spaces. Discarded cigarettes can play a major role in causing small fires, equally disposable barbecues left unattended near dry areas of grass land have proven to be very dangerous.

Watch Commander, Andy Freeman said: “With the warmer weather the grass and heath areas are really dry. Something as simple as a cigarette end or flame from a disposable barbecue could easily see a field go up in flames. This can pose a huge threat to farmland, wildlife and even people’s lives should a fire get out of control.

“If you do spot a grass fire, do not attempt to tackle it yourself. These fires are changeable in nature and can wipe out a field within minutes. Equally they can change direction within seconds, which could prove fatal should someone get trapped.

“Obviously the more serious incidents involve those which have been deliberately started. We have been working very closely with the police over the last few months to reduce nuisance fires. This has ensured that small fires are quickly dealt with or prevented from starting in the first place. These incidents are treated very seriously and those caught could face a criminal record.”

Portfolio Holder for Community Protection, Councillor Richard Hobbs said: “As expected with the warmer weather, there has been a slight increase in the number of small fires. I would ask the public to be vigilant and be aware of the dangers posed from things such discarded cigarettes or rubbish.

“In order to reduce small fires across the county, we have been working closely with Warwickshire Police to put preventative measures in place, to reduce both accidental and deliberate fires and this will continue in order to reduce the risk to residents in Warwickshire.”

If residents do see anyone acting suspiciously, they can call the Arson Reduction Team on 02476 483205.

For further information on fire safety log onto www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fireandrescue or visit www.twitter.com/warksfirerescue