Fire service is hit by Pounds 600,000 grass fires bill

Fire service is hit by Pounds 600,000 grass fires bill

17 March 2010

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United Kingdom —   A Spate of life-threatening grass fires, many thought to have been started by arsonists, has landed the Mid and West Wales Fire Service with a Pounds 600,000-plus bill.

In Carmarthenshire alone this month, there have been more than 100 grass and forestry blazes costing around Pounds 200,000.

Last weekend, there were at least 10 in the Llanelli area, and others in Pembrey, Ammanford and Pontyates.

Cost The previous weekend, there had been eight in Llanelli, with more following during the week.

Group manager Rob Quin, head of Carmarthenshire Command, said: “The average cost of attending each of these fires is Pounds 1,970, therefore the cost of fire in Carmarthenshire alone is approximately Pounds 197,000.

“Across the whole of the service area, the estimated cost of the recent spate of fires exceeds Pounds 600,000.”

And he warned of the grave dangers of grass fires.

“Apart from the obvious financial impact, there is another risk. Grass fires can have very serious consequences. These sorts of fires are extremely dangerous and unpredictable, and they can quickly spread out of control,” he said.

He warned that fire-starters could end up losing their lives.

“Deliberate fire-setting presents a serious risk of injury and death to the fire-setter and also firefighters who attend the incident to extinguish the fire,” said Mr Quin.

And the blazes have been taking their toll on the fire crews. Mr Quin said: “Firefighters have to battle under arduous conditions, with fires often spread across difficult and sometimes inaccessible terrain.”

He warned, too, that the fires could have a knock-on effect: “These fires prove a huge drain on resources and firefighters tackling them may be delayed in attending genuine emergencies, such as people trapped in house fires or road accidents.

Damage “These fires can also cause extensive damage to the landscape and wildlife which can suffer through loss of habitat or through perishing in the heat and flames.

“What makes it worse is that many of these fires are started deliberately and the damage they cause is completely unnecessary.”

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