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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Cumbria fire service plea as spate of deliberate blazes continues

A spate of deliberate grass and rubbish fires continued over the weekend.

Adrian Holme photo
Adrian Holme

After more than 20 nuisance fires in the west of the county last week there were around 30 more incidents across Allerdale and Copeland over the weekend.

Firefighters attended incidents at Frizington, Workington, Cleator Moor, Seaton and Maryport to extinguish burning grass and rubbish that had been deliberately lit.

Adrian Holme, station manager at Cockermouth, Keswick, Wigton and Workington fire stations, said the fires were risking people’s lives.

He said: “I would urge anybody considering creating a blaze of this nature to think of the potentially-fatal consequences of their reckless actions.

“Dealing with so many avoidable incidents over the weekend really stretched our resources and meant we were needlessly tired up rather than being available for more serious emergencies.

“Deliberate fires, particularly those involving grass and gorse, can spread rapidly and quickly get out of control endangering lives and property.”

The school holidays can lead to an increase in nuisance fires and this, combined with current dry conditions, is leaving fire services stretched.

The dry weather is exacerbating fires, with vegetation being easier to set alight.

Kevin Johnston, station manager at Whitehaven, Egremont, Seascale and Frizington, said: “Parents and carers need to remind their children of the dangers of playing with and creating fires, as we can’t allow the situation to get out of hand like it did at the weekend.

“We’re continuing to work with the police to identify and catch those involved in this criminal activity.”

Fires on Sunday included 1,200 square feet of grass being set alight at Lowca Rugby Club a post box on fire in Corporation Road in Workington and a tree on fire in Castle Park, Whitehaven.

Other incidents in the Copeland and Allerdale areas have included a hay fire in Pennygill, Maryport, a grass fire on Mainsgate Road, Millom, rubbish on fire in Mulgrew Close in Maryport and a car on fire on Newlands Gardens in Workington

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