My fellow ward councillor and Vice-Chair of the Fire & Rescue service Cllr Les Byrom CBE said this morning:”Arson is one if the most serious crimes on the statute book, it used to be a capital offence, now it can carry a life sentence, so idiots setting deliberate fires are taking a massive personal risk. Weather related grass fires is a natural phenomenon, but anti social fire setting will be dealt with by Police and the Fire Service with maximum vigour”
Operation Beachsafe A taskforce which aims to keep visitors and residents safe on Sefton’s coastline was launched on Friday, 22 March 2013
Firefighters Tackle Grass Fires In Sefton – Press release 12.04.13
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has issued fire safety guidance after firefighters attended 68 grass fires in Sefton in the space of 12 days. There were a total of 334 grass fires over the Easter break between Friday, March 29 and Tuesday, April 9 and 68 of those happened in Sefton.
Of those incidents, 31 grass fires were attended by Bootle & Netherton Community Fire Station, 24 were attended by Crosby Fire Station, nine were attended by Formby Fire Station and four were attended by crews from Southport Fire Station.
Hot spot areas are now being targeted by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s prevention team and partners.
There have been a number of incidents in the Rimrose Valley Park area and work such as high visibility patrols are being carried out in that area with the partnership organisations.
MF&RS staff will also be visiting schools in the area and delivering joint assemblies about the dangers of setting fires deliberately and grassland fires.
On Sunday, March 31, there was a large fire involving grassland and sand dunes in Formby between Albert Road in Formby and Altcar Training Camp. Nobody is believed to have been injured in the incident and the cause of the fire is unknown.
Operation Beachsafe is currently ongoing along Sefton’s coastline to deal with fires along the beach areas. It runs until September and involves partners including Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Merseyside Police, Sefton Council, Sefton’s Coast and Countryside Rangers, The National Trust, RNLI lifeguards, British Transport Police, councillors and parish councillors.
The issue of grassfires in Sefton will be highlighted at the next Operation Beachsafe meeting later this month. MF&RS staff will also be contacting schools in the Formby area to highlight the dangers of grassfires.
Group Manager Rob Pritchard, MF&RS Sefton district manager, said: “There have been a number of grass fires in the Sefton area in the past two weeks.
“We are working with our partners to tackle those issues and to prevent grass fires. This includes visiting schools as well as raising awareness in the community about the dangers of grass fires and how they can be prevented.
“This work will continue as the good weather approaches. We want residents and visitors to be safe and enjoy parks and beaches in Sefton.”
Of those fires between , there were 59 in Liverpool, 47 in Wirral, 68 in Sefton, 60 in Knowsley and 100 in St Helens.
Fire safety advice has been issued to the public who are using parkland areas as the milder weather approaches.
There are simple steps people can take to reduce the chance of a grass fire.
People should ensure cigarettes are extinguished properly and should not throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of vehicle windows.
Rubbish should be taken home and not left behind, especially glass bottles as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start a fire. They can also injure people and animals.
Open fires should not be lit in parks and open spaces and should only be lit in safe designated areas.
Anyone who spots a grass fire is asked to report it immediately to Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a larger incident. People are also asked to give as much detail as possible and the name of the nearest main road.
People are urged not to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water. They should leave the area as quickly as possible and dial 999.
Extra caution should be taken when lighting barbecues and people should never use petrol as it can ignite quickly and soon get out of control. Only approved lighting fuels should be used and barbecues should only be used in suitable safe areas. They should never be lit indoors and never left unattended.
Land owners and land managers are advised to ensure that fire breaks or gaps in vegetation are well maintained and that the grass is kept short and any rubbish is removed from the site.
MF&RS Area Manager Myles Platt, said: “Firefighters have been called out to a number of accidental and deliberate grass fires.
“Deliberately starting fires on grassland and open spaces is arson and offenders will be prosecuted.
“If a fire appliance has to attend a grass fire that has been started deliberately it may delay the response to another emergency.
“Fires started on grassland near motorways and busy roads can cause smoke to drift across roads, creating a hazard for drivers.
“Some accidental fires can be avoided by following the simple safety measures we have highlighted.
“We want people to enjoy the parks and open spaces in Merseyside and to be as safe as possible from fire.”