Staffordshire grass fires rise as yobs run riot
Arsonists have run riot across Staffordshire with yobs starting up to 12 grass or rubbish fires a day in some areas.
Firefighters have been run ragged this summer with a huge rise in deliberate fires compared to last summer.
Crews across Staffordshire attended 1,475 grass and rubbish fires during June, July and August – 1,115 of which were believed to have been started deliberately.
This is compared to just 495 of these fires reported in 2017, of which 388 were deliberate.
Between June 1 and August 31 this year, the amount of deliberate rubbish and grass fires tripled to 58 in Stafford from the same time last year when there were 18 recorded.
The Cannock Chase district saw 59, rising from 35, while there were 92 in South Staffordshire, up from 40 and 31 in Lichfield up from 24.
Among the areas hit were Hednesford Hills where a grass fire destroyed 12 acres of countryside in July.
Director of Prevent and Protect at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, Glynn Luznyj said: “This summer we’ve faced unprecedented demand and it is really sad to see so much of our countryside devastated as a result of these fires, many of which are deliberate or at least preventable.
“These fires not only ruin beauty spots where families want to spend their time with their children but also put the wildlife at risk and take our firefighters away from important training and prevention work.”
During the last three weeks of the school holiday, from August 13 to September 3, the number of deliberate grass and rubbish fires in Staffordshire has dropped by 70 per cent, with just 95 fires compared 323 fires in the first three weeks of the holidays.
It comes as the service’s Flames Aren’t Games campaign draws to a close.The campaign, which coincides with the school holidays when incident numbers peak, is run in a bid to deter potential fire starters and highlight the dangers of fires deliberately.