Fire and Police working in partnership to tackle deliberate fires

Posted 23/04/2015 14:10:36

North Wales Police, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Arson Reduction Team are all working in partnership to try and tackle the deliberate fires especially in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area.

Officers from both Fire and Rescue and Police Services are urging people to stop and think about the consequences of grass fires following a spate of incidents in Blaenau Ffestiniog over the last few weeks which have tied up valuable resources. Starting deliberate fires has serious consequences and could result in the individual starting them sustaining serious injuries, and appearing in court and having a criminal record.

Since the 1st April 2015 fire crews have attended over 62 deliberate grass or gorse fires in North Wales. A third of these have been in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area with the latest one last night behind Ysgol y Moelwyn at 8.55pm. One incident on the hillside in Blaenau Ffestiniog took 11 hours to bring under control and tied up four fire appliances overnight.

Chief Inspector Guy Blackwell at North Wales Police, said:  "Last night five local youths were arrested as part of the investigations and are now on conditional police bail.  So far, and fortunately, no one has been injured but we are determined to ensure this does not become a trend and that we educate our youngsters about the dangers of fire before someone is seriously hurt or worse.  We have stepped up patrols and are asking the local community to inform us immediately if they see any suspicious behavior.  

"The message I would like to get out is that fires are dangerous and can wreck lives as well as property so do not get involved.  Working in partnership with colleagues at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the joint Arson Reduction Team we are appealing to anyone in the community who knows who is responsible for these incidents to make contact with us as soon as possible before someone is injured.   Incidents like this could tie up the Emergency Services whose time is invariably needed elsewhere."

Kevin Jones, Arson Reduction Manager, said: "The Arson Reduction Team has carried out a number of initiatives in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area to try and educate young people about the consequences of starting deliberate fires.

"We have carried out leaflets drops, visited local schools and youth clubs as well as placing information boards up in areas where fires have been started to try and highlight the problem in the community.

"I am appealing to parents or guardians to be more aware of the whereabouts of their children and impress upon them the important message that deliberate fires endanger lives.

"It could be you or a member of your family that requires our assistance and we may not be able to get to you as quickly or as easily as we would like because we have to deal with a deliberate fire."

Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager, said: The recent dry weather has increased the risk of rural fires and that it was disheartening to find that many of these incidents had either been ignited deliberately.

"During warmer periods, grass, gorse and heather dry and fires can develop very quickly, particularly in raised winds, resulting in fires getting out of control and spreading to neighbouring properties or forestry, with the need for the fire and rescue service to be called out to extinguish them.

"Fires like this place tremendous pressure on resources, with firefighters often tied up for a considerable length of time working to bring these fires under control which in turn delays firefighters from attending life threatening incidents.

"Quite often these fires are located in areas where access is extremely difficult and water supply is limited.

"There is also the damage to wildlife, livestock and the environment, and the significant cost to the public purse of dealing with these fires."

You can follow the campaign to reduce deliberate fires on social media by following #helpstopdeliberatefires and on our website www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk and www.north-wales.police.uk

Anyone with information on such crimes is advised to anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact 101.

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