Major increase in outdoor fires amid school holidays warning
Almost 2,000 outdoor fires were started deliberately in Staffordshire last year.
It comes as Staffordshire Fire Service has seen an increase of more than 30 per cent in outdoor fires – four times the national figure.
Based on the financial year for 2018–2019, Staffordshire had 2,650 secondary fires, which are smaller, outdoor fires, such as bin, shed or garden fires, compared to around 1,990 the previous year.
That’s an increase of 33.5 per cent, with 1,960 of them started deliberately.
Nationally, there was only a 11 per cent increase.
Since July 1, crews have already been called out 118 rubbish and bin fires, with 84 of them started deliberately.
Chief fire officer Becci Bryant said: “If a crew is called to a wheelie bin fire, and there’s a house fire at the other side of town, that crew are tied up, what we want is to make them available for those life risk emergencies."
She added: "A large proportion of these will be young people, it's no surprise that we see peaks in these types of fires when we have lengthy school holiday periods.
"So it's about working with those young people so they understand the risks of what they're doing, and the impact it can help.
"If a crew is called to a wheelie bin fire, and there's a house fire at the other side of town, that crew are tied up, what we want is to make them available for those life risk emergencies.
"We seek wherever were able to, the fullest extent of the law for those people in the criminal justice period.
"We take arson very seriously and where we have evidence we work really closely with police colleagues to prosecute on every single occasion."
The fire service is using a campaign called 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' to raise awareness of steps to prevent bin and rubbish fires.
Director of Prevent and Protect Glynn Luznyj said: “Every year we see the number of bin and rubbish fires rise during the school holidays.
"We’re encouraging residents and businesses to take action to protect themselves from these fires, which can often spread causing serious damage to any nearby vehicles and buildings.
“During the summer our firefighters face increased demand from outdoor fires, alongside attending house fires and road traffic collisions, so we need your help to ease the strain on our crews.
“Thankfully most bin and rubbish fires remain small but they are needless drains on our time. Please help us prevent this year being a repeat of last summer.”
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