Safety Fire

Nuisance fires double in Greater Manchester during first week of Coronavirus stay at home measures

People are being urged to think carefully about their actions after the number of nuisance fires firefighters were called to in Greater Manchester doubled during the first week of the new Government measures telling people to stay at home.

From March 23 to March 29, firefighters were called to 183 nuisance fires, also known as deliberate secondary fires, up from 90 from March 16 to March 22. Deliberate secondary fires are the majority of outdoor fires including those involving grassland and waste.

Most of the incidents attended by crews last week involved rubbish, grassland, small waste containers (not including wheelie bins) and scrubland.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is calling on residents to ensure they are following Government guidance, to only go out when it is absolutely essential and think very clearly about their actions when they do go out.

Among the incidents crews attended, were bonfires started by groups of teenagers, trees and rubbish being set on fire, camp fires, grass deliberately set on fire and quantities of rubbish set on fire.

GMFRS Head of Prevention, Paul Fearnhead, said: “While it is not uncommon to see an increase in this type of fire at this time of year as the weather gets warmer and drier it is incredibly disappointing to see it happening in the first week of the new stay at home measures and the schools being closed.

“These smaller fires can become very serious incidents, especially if started when it is dry in an area such as the moors. We all saw far too clearly just how devastating a moorland fire can be back in 2018 when our firefighters spent weeks tackling them across Greater Manchester and just this weekend we assisted colleagues from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service dealing with a large moorland fire near Bolton.

“We have also dealt with two significant incidents over the past week, one at a mill in Failsworth and another at a commercial property in Swinton, if our crews are being called to deal with these nuisance fires they cannot be available to tackle these large incidents.  

“We all need to play our part and I would urge people to please follow the Government guidance and only go out when it is absolutely necessary, while we know most people are doing so, some people are still not, and some are even starting fires when they are out. It is unacceptable that this is happening and I would urge everyone to think carefully about what they are doing and the impact it can have.

“If you are not going out to buy essential groceries, to receive medical care, for their one piece of exercise a day or to go to work that cannot be done from home, then they should be in the house. I’d ask parents to remind children as well of their responsibilities in these challenging times.”

It is also important people are being safe at home while we are spending more time in the house, read more on this on our news page - Firefighters urge residents to be safe at home.

02/04/2020 12:03 PM