Kent Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to be extra careful not to start fires in woodlands and vegetation after several large incidents that damaged the countryside and tied up firefighting resources on 29 March 2017.
Incidents included a large fire in woodland in West Blean, in Herne, that destroyed two hectares of shrubs, bushes and trees. Four fire engines and an all-terrain vehicle were required and crews spent over two and a half hours battling a multi-seated fire using a cold-cutting firefighting system and flexi packs.
Earlier in the day, three fire engines and an all-terrain vehicle were sent to fire in a large area of cleared woodland in Bekesbourne. Crews spent over two hours putting out the blaze and preventing further fire spread. Elsewhere, crews tackled a blaze in trees and shrubs in woodland near Lordswood and a log store and conifer trees alight in Selling.
Herne Bay crew manager Tim Green said: “We are asking members of the public to avoid starting bonfires or camp fires in woodland areas and to take extra care when disposing of cigarettes while out walking.
“Woodland and outdoor fires can be very challenging to deal with as they are often spread over a large area and can easily burn out of control, particularly in dry conditions. Not only does it destroy the countryside and wildlife, it also ties up our firefighting resources for extended periods which means we are not available to respond to life-threatening emergencies.”
He added: “If you spot a fire please report it as soon as possible, giving as much detail about the specific location to enable us to get to it quickly and prevent it spreading into a larger blaze. In addition, please report any information about illegal fire setting activities and those responsible to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”