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Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) work to crackdown on fires on the Dartford Heath


Kent Fire and Rescue work to
crackdown on fires in grassland areas

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is working with partner agencies to crackdown on a spate of fires on the Dartford Heath.

Fire crews have been called out to the area on 16 occasions in 10 weeks. They are now involved in local schemes aimed at reducing the risk of fire spread, but residents are also being asked to play their part in preventing blazes breaking out.

Dartford Station Manager Brett Egan, said, "Rainfall over recent weeks has meant that grassland areas have flourished but with this period of warm dry weather, there is a greater risk of fire spreading more quickly and larger blazes developing."

"There are a number of ways in which people can help us, such as discarding of cigarettes and rubbish carefully, but we'd also like to warn deliberate fire-setters that if they are caught, they face fines or several years in jail - possibly a life sentence is someone is killed as a result of their actions."

KFRS Community Safety teams have been visiting local secondary schools, talking about the risks of fires on Dartford Heath. Additionally a Community Safety Display Vehicle will be outside the following schools: Dartford Grammar for Boys on 6 July, Dartford Grammar for Girls on 7 July and Wilmington Grammar for Girls on 8 July.

KFRS is working with a number of other agencies including local, district and county councils, Kent Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Forensic Science Service to investigate deliberate fires, identify those responsible and actively seek prevention and education opportunities.

As a proactive partner with the Clean Kent campaign, KFRS also continues to work with other agencies to progress rubbish and car clear up schemes such as Operation Cubit, to reduce potential sources of fuel for deliberate fire setting.

The general public can help by following some important safety tips to prevent fires starting in the first place:

  •  Don't discard cigarettes out of car windows as this can set light to grass verges and grassland areas and is illegal.
  • Don't light fires in the countryside or drop litter which could be set fire to and again, littering is an offence.
  • Don't accumulate rubbish which can act as potential fuel for deliberate fire setters.
  • Contact your local district or borough council to ask about disposal of unwanted furniture, or to report abandoned vehicles or fly tipped waste (Clean Kent 24 hour reporting line - 0845 345 0201).
  • Extinguish bonfires and barbecues properly.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the way of young people (especially young children) and remind them that they are not toys.
  • If you are a parent you are strongly advised not to leave youngsters to wander in the countryside unsupervised. Ensure that they are aware of the dangers of fire.
  • Report any information on fire setting activities and those responsible (anonymously if need be) to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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