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Safety warning issued after fire at Dartford Heath

A safety warning has been issued after a grass fire on Dartford Heath.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service issued the safety advice around accidental grass, crop and woodland fires following the blaze yesterday.

Firefighters tackling a huge blaze on Dartford Heath last year. Picture: Kent Police Dartford
Firefighters tackling a huge blaze on Dartford Heath last year. Picture: Kent Police Dartford

They were called just after 7.30pm. Two fire engines were sent, and crews arrived to a small amount of undergrowth alight.

It was all over by 8.10pm, no casualties were reported, and although the cause is believed to be accidental, a spokesman said it was now peak season for these types of fires, and the public were being urged to do their bit to reduce the chance of any more happpening across the county.

Earlier this month, fire crews were called into action after an area of undergrowth the size of two tennis courts went up in flames on the heath.

Last August, Dartford council issued a warning over a spate of heath fires thought to have been started deliberately.

Fires on Dartford Heath are a regular occurrence in the summer months with thick clouds of smoke often seen.

Dartford Heath sees fires every year
Dartford Heath sees fires every year

There are currently 28 numbered fire posts dotted around the 361-acre heath – a result of a campaign led by the late Tawnya Cooper 25 years ago who, then aged just 14, started a petition to put them in place.

Colin King, KFRS' assistant director for customer engagement and safety, said: "Grass, crop and woodland fires have the potential to take hold and spread rapidly.

"These types of incidents can have devastating consequences, therefore it's important that everyone living, visiting and working in the county plays their part in preventing them from happening in the first place."

You can help prevent grass, crop and woodland fires by following some simple safety steps:

  • When lighting a bonfire, keep it to a manageable size, make sure it's well clear of greenery and property, and always supervise it while it's burning. Avoid having a bonfire in windy weather.
  • Dispose of smoking materials responsibly, making sure they're fully stubbed out and cooled before being put in a bin - consider using a portable ashtray when on the go.
  • Place disposable barbecues on a sturdy, non-flammable surface when cooking, away from greenery and property, and only place in a bin once fully cool.

You can get more safety advice at www.kent.fire-uk.org/

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