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Kent firefighters's warning over outdoor fires

Kent Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to help protect the county’s outdoor spaces by taking extra care not to cause a fire through carelessness this summer.

With the summer holidays fast approaching and temperatures set to rise, lots of people will be taking the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy Kent's countryside.

However, the warm weather can spark an increase in the number of grassland, crop and woodland fires KFRS attends.

In dry conditions, fires in vegetation can spread rapidly, destroying vast swathes of countryside, potentially putting the lives of residents and firefighters at risk.

The fire service is urging people to be extra careful of fires ahead of the hot weather Credit: ITV Meridian

Unfortunately, many of these fires are preventable. Often they are caused by people who have dropped cigarette ends while out walking, or discarded them from car windows.

During sunny spells, even a glass bottle or broken glass can set light to grass verges and other outdoor spaces.

It is also very tempting while out camping to start bonfires or to use disposable barbecues on picnics, but these can easily burn out of control.”

– Sean Bone-Knell,KFRS Director of Operations

Outdoor fires in Kent have doubled

Outdoor fire call-outs have significantly increased in the Kent area since last year.

This month, fire crews have attended 89 outdoor fires believed to have started deliberately, compared to 49 for the same time last year.

Accidental fires have also increased to 58 call-outs, as opposed to 17 last year.

The Head of Community Safety, Stuart Skilton, appealed to people to take extra care not to start fires, especially with outdoor activities such as camping and barbecuing.

Some of these increases may be because this summer has beendrier so far than last year, meaning that fires are likely to take hold more easily. However, there is a major concern about how many of these outdoor fires are being started deliberately or through carelessness. Fires of this type can spread easily and this puts enormous demands on our resources as well as posing a serious threat to lives and homes.”

– Stuart Skilton, Head of Community Safety


Chimney fires: "Don't take the risk"

The temperature may be dropping but the heat is on for the region's firefighters after a spate of chimney fires across the south.

Around 30,000 chimneys go up in flames in the UK each year and approximately 9,000 of these cause serious damage, wrecking the homes and lives of the property owners

With winter just around the corner people are being urged to pay a small fee to get their chimneys swept to avoid counting the cost of disaster. Martin Dowse has this special report