Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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Residents urged to be vigilant against outdoor fire risks during hot spell

Residents urged to be vigilant against outdoor fire risks during hot spell

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is urging local residents to take extra care against the risk of outdoor fires during the current spell of hot weather.

During the last few days crews have had to tackle bush and grass fires in a number of sites across Merseyside including Bidston Hill and Sherdley Park, St Helens.

With the increased risk of spontaneous ignition to grass and woodland due to the prolonged high temperatures, residents are being asked to be extra vigilant when out in the countryside or on the coast.

With open ground temperatures rising very high in some areas currently, there is also the risk of fires even starting out of sight underground through smouldering peat and other materials. Fires like this can then spread rapidly overground in the current temperatures.

To help combat these risks MFRS is issuing the following guidance for residents to follow:

•Ensure cigarettes are extinguished correctly and cannot reignite - don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground – take your litter home.
•Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.
•Avoid using open fires in the countryside.
•Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires (take them home and recycle them).
•Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended.
•If you see a fire, report it to the fire and rescue service immediately by calling 999 and give the nearest main road that the fire appliance can access.
•Don’t attempt to tackle fires– leave the area as quickly as possible.

During the current hot spell there is also an increased risk of fires being started deliberately.

In the last week fire crews have attended 112 fires involving grassland, 78 of which are suspected to have been started deliberately.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Arson Team Manager Michael Buratti said:

“In the current hot weather spell there is clearly an increased risk of fires in wooded, bush and grassed areas starting either accidentally or spontaneously.

“However there is also a direct link between deliberate fires and the warm temperatures due to grassland and vegetation being very dry which creates ideal conditions for a fire to develop.

“This means that deliberate fires involving grass, trees and vegetation are also likely to spread very quickly.

Deliberately setting a fire is arson. Deliberate fires are investigated and The Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Arson Team will be working with Merseyside Police, Local Authorities and other partner agencies to identify offenders.

”Our advice to residents is to take care when out in grassed and wooded areas, be vigilant but also report any suspicious activity to ourselves and the Police immediately.”

As part of its current operations to tackle grassland fires, MFRS is positioning some hosing equipment near at risk sites to ready for quick use in case of repeated fire incidents.

Members of the public are asked not to move the equipment or be aware that it is unnecessary to report their presence to us as this is part of part of current operational procedures.

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