FIRE chiefs in East Staffordshire have warned that they are gearing up for a surge in grass fires this Easter.
New figures show up to two thirds of grass fires take place during the Easter holidays, and 85 per cent in the area are started deliberately.
Now, the fire service is re-launching its ‘Flames Aren’t Games’ campaign to stop bored youths in from sparking grass fires across the area
Glynn Luznyj, head of risk reduction at Staffordshire Fire Rescue, said: “The Flames Aren’t Games campaign has proved to be a big success since it was initially launched in 2011 and we are committed to continuing to build upon what we have already achieved.
“Grass fires can be a particular problem during the warmer months and their tendency to spread rapidly can pose a real danger both to people and wildlife, potentially putting innocent lives at risk.
“We are doing all we can as a fire service to educate young people on the damage that can be caused by setting light to things such as piles of grass and bins.
“I would urge members of the community to be our eyes and ears and to keep a lookout for any suspicious activity in their area.
“Also, it is absolutely vital that parents know what their children are up to during the school holidays.
“Being involved in this type of antisocial behaviour not only has short term effects but could have a devastating impact on young people’s long term employment prospects should they face prosecution.”
Crews dealt with 2,281 small fires – including grass fires and bin blazes - in 2013 and 3,505 in 2011.
These two years are comparable due to similar weather conditions during both periods.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is placing campaign billboards around the county in a bid to send the number of incidents ‘plummeting’.
Posters advertising the campaign will be displayed at community centres, youth clubs, children’s centres, schools and leisure centres across Staffordshire in an attempt to educate youths about the serious dangers of fire.
Punishments for deliberately starting fires include up to two years in prison or a £5,000 fine.