'13 deliberate fires' tackled by emergency services in Preston on Easter Sunday

Areas across Preston have been left scorched after vandals deliberately started numerous fires yesterday evening (April 4).

Monday, 5th April 2021, 9:08 am

Preston Fire Station said they responded to 15 incidents between 6pm and 4am, 13 of which were "anti-social" in nature.

Deliberate attempts to ignite grass, bushes, woodland and bins were reported across Brookfield, Grange and Moor Nook, with "a couple more serious ones in Deepdale and Plungington."

Fire crews said police are aware of the incidents and will be patrolling the affected areas.

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Liam Wilson, Group Manager for Eastern Lancashire and lead on Wildfire Prevention for LFRS, said: "In recent years we have seen an increase in wildfires, some of which have been caused by deliberate or negligent ignition.

"To those individuals who seek to aggravate an already difficult situation, we ask them to think about the wider consequences of their actions.

"The direct impact of wildfires upon our communities can be massive, however they also need to consider that these incidents tie up critical emergency service resources, which could have serious consequences for other people who may genuinely need our help elsewhere."

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Preston Fire Station said they responded to 15 incidents on Sunday, April 4 - 13 of which were "anti-social" in nature.

From March 1 to May 31, 2020, LFRS was called to 78 wildfire incidents - an "alarming" increase of 11 per cent from 2019.

Global warming has presented a trend of warmer weather in March and April, causing the grass and vegetation to become tinder dry, the fire service said.

LFRS fears that with lockdown restrictions easing, people will flock to Lancashire beauty spots with barbecues or with the intention of lighting fires, creating wildfire hazards.

"While we understand that people will want to enjoy our beautiful countryside, we would ask people to behave responsibly and to take every possible action to protect their surroundings and prevent a wildfire from starting," Liam Wilson added.

"Having the support of partners, public and landowners at this time, will undoubtedly help us deal with the additional pressures we face as a result of these incidents and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic."

How you can help

- If you see a wildfire, always report it on 999. Don’t assume someone already has

- Never use disposable barbecues on moorland or grassland. Consider taking a picnic instead

- Avoid smoking on moorland. If you do, always extinguish your cigarettes and other smoking materials thoroughly

- Never leave bottles behind, as sunlight can become focused as it shines through glass, starting fires

- Keep children away from lighters and matches.

- If you are a landowner or manage land, please only carry out controlled burns if absolutely necessary. It is very easy for these to get out of control.

For further advice and guidance on wildfires and how to prevent them please visit: www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/wildfiresIt is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.