Alarming rise in number of fires started deliberately in Northumberland

Parents have been urged to talk to their children about the dangers of outdoor fires following a rise in the number of blazes started on purpose.

By Joshua Wright
Friday, 1st July 2022, 4:22 pm

Responding to these fires pushes already over-stretched resources to the limit, and puts people’s lives in danger as they stop crews from attending genuine emergencies.

The brigade’s community safety department regularly visit schools, to educate kids about the dangers of deliberate fires and how anti-social behaviour and peer pressure are often to blame.

It also runs a programme called Extinguish, designed to support children and young people up to 18 who may play with, or have a fascination with fire.

Wheelie bins are usually packed with flammable items, so fire can take hold very quickly.

According to the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, outdoor fires were the most common incident reported in 2020/21, and 75 per cent were started on purpose.

Graeme Wright, of the community safety team, said: “We are asking parents to speak to their children and talk about how fires affect not just ourselves, but also remind them of the environmental damage that is being caused because of deliberate fires.”

Helen Visocci, prevention manager, said: “These fires are a real risk to life.

"Wheelie bins are often a target for people who engage in this type of anti-social behaviour and if your bin is too close to your house, it can easily spread to your home.

“This is why we always encourage people, where possible, to put their bins out on the day of collection only and bring them back in as soon as they can.”

The service says it is actively working with police, community partners and neighbouring fire and rescue services to help combat the problem of outdoor fires.