Fire leaders call for public to look out for wildfire arsonists
- Published on Thursday, 05 May 2011 14:35
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Fire leaders are calling for public vigilance as wildfires tear through Britain’s parched countryside and parks, with many thought to have been started by arsonists (May 5th)
The Local Government Association, which represents fire authorities in England and Wales, issued the warning after prolonged warm, dry and windy weather has created perfect conditions for fires on areas of gorse, grass and forest.
Crews have been battling blazes up and down the country over the past several days and with rain not forecast until the end of the week there are fears the situation could escalate.
Though the majority have started naturally or accidentally, it is believed many may be the result of deliberate acts. The LGA is calling for people to not only take extra care themselves, but to also look out for any suspicious behaviour.
Cllr Brian Coleman, Chairman of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee, said:
“These wildfires have destroyed thousands of acres of countryside and are also springing up in parks across towns and cities. They spread very quickly, often faster than a person can run, devastating wildlife, property and crops, and putting human life at risk.
“Such blazes also tie up vast resources which could be in demand for other life-threatening incidents such as dealing with a house fire or road traffic accident.
“Firefighters have a tough enough job tackling wildfires which occur naturally or accidentally, let alone those started by reckless arsonists who get their kicks from causing devastation. The public need to be vigilant during weather like this and anyone caught starting a fire deliberately must face the full force of the law.”
When dealing with wildfires, fire and rescue services call on a number of special resources. These include off-road vehicles, such as a six wheel drive Pinzgauer, which can access to hard to reach areas and carry hose reel jets and tanks of water. Crews also have backpacks full of water and fitted with hand pumps which allow them to get water out to even the most remote parts of a field. In some cases, however, firefighters literally beat out the flames if they can’t get water to the site.