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Don't be Blamed for the Flames

Deliberate and accidental outdoor fires have devastating consequences, they:

  • Put lives in danger
  • Put a strain on firefighters, who are often needed elsewhere
  • Cause damage that can cost up to £8 million a year - a needless cost to the economy
  • Ruin the local area, killing wildlife and plants.

This summer our Don’t be Blamed for the Flames campaign sets out to help you protect the landscapes you love from fire.

What can you do to prevent these fires?

Accidental fires

Every year fire is responsible for the destruction of thousands of acres of countryside. There are lots of things you can avoid doing to help prevent fires when you’re in the countryside:

  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
  • Make sure cigarettes are put out properly and disposed of in dedicated bins
  • Take your rubbish home or put it in a nearby bin
  • Don’t leave glass bottles lying on the ground. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire
  • Don’t have open fires or BBQs in the countryside – they can easily set fire to the ground and spread,

If you find a fire in the countryside don’t attempt to tackle it, call 999 and ask for the fire service immediately. Pass as much information about the location as possible, use the app What 3 Words if you have it to pinpoint the exact spot.

If you see a campfire or BBQ which has spread to the ground or surrounding area then call 999 and ask for the fire service immediately.

Barbecue safety tips

To avoid injuries or damage to property follow our simple BBQ advice.

Deliberate fires

Share the information about the consequences of setting fires deliberately with any young people in your life. Keep matches and lighters out of children and young peoples' reach and talk to them about the dangers of starting fires outside.

You can also raise awareness about our campaign through social media, by sharing the images and videos which we have created.

If you see someone acting suspiciously and believe they are deliberately starting a fire, or are about to, call police on 999 immediately, giving a description of the person/people and location.

Have information about anti-social behaviour in the countryside involving fire setting? Report it to Staffordshire Police by direct messaging them on Facebook or Twitter, or call 101. If a crime is in progress always call 999.

Diversionary Activities

We understand young people have been off school for some time due to Covid-19 and that many fun activities they would usually do during the summer holidays have been cancelled. As government restrictions begin to ease and activities restart we’ll update our links to them below so you can easily find out what activities are taking place in your area.

Advice to parents and guardians

If you are a parent make sure your children know the devastating consequences of fire setting and understand the risks:

  • A fire can quickly get out of control, injuring them and other people
  • They will receive a prison sentence and criminal record which could affect their future job opportunities and stop them going to the US
  • They will be issued with a £5,000 fine 

Advice to landowners

Wildfires are very dangerous, spreading fast, changing direction, threatening wildlife, livestock, domestic animals, environment, property and people.

Fires which may threaten your property

It may seem like a remote possibility but if you live or work in an area at risk from wildfires it pays to be prepared:

  • Do you and your family have a plan for your safety in the event of a wildfire? 
  • Do all family members know what to do and where to assemble in the event of a wildfire, including rounding up and caring for pets and domestic animals?
  • Have you discussed an escape plan with your neighbours? 
  • Have you talked to your children about not starting fires or playing with matches?

If you see a fire, however small, call 999 immediately and give Fire Control personnel as much detail as possible. If you know the best access point, please let them know. If safe to do so, stand by the access point and speak to fire crews when they arrive.

Create a safety zone

The best protection against loss, damage or injury due to wildfire is prevention. One of the most important things you can do to protect your home and property is to create a safety zone around it, extending out for at least 10 metres in all directions. 

A safety zone, is a well-planned, well-maintained area that is as free as possible of combustible materials that could support the spread of a wildfire. Properly preparing your home and community does not guarantee that you will not incur fire damage, but it does reduce the risks. 

Any kind of dry vegetation will burn. Mature trees, shrubs, grass, even your woodpile and wheelie bins are all potential fuels and can easily ignite (increasing the chance of building ignition and loss). Managing the space around your house and buildings is of prime importance. When considering the Safety Zone, it must be remembered that not all areas may be legally under your control. You may need to work in partnership with neighbours or adjacent landowners to put adequate safeguards in place.

Clean up the safety zone:

  • Remove combustible materials, wood piles, felled trees and other debris
  • Is there enough space for firefighters to protect the rear of your home? Remove obstructing debris and trees and make sure fences have easily accessible gates
  • Keep grass mowed short (75mm or less) on all sides of all buildings, as short, green grass will not readily carry fire
  • Clear at least a three metre space around any fuel tanks. Keep this space in gravel, rock or short mown grass
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms on each floor of your home. Consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen. Test alarms weekly and never remove the batteries
  • Keep trees, shrubs and vegetation clear of power lines, communication cables or equipment. If you are concerned, seek advice from your communications and/or power supplier.