Safety warning as fire strike looms

Hampshire Chronicle: Firefighters on strike outside Soho fire station in London Firefighters on strike outside Soho fire station in London

The public has been warned about the danger of grass fires during a fresh strike by firefighters in their long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in England and Wales will walk out for seven hours from 10am tomorrow in protest at controversial changes to their pensions and retirement age.

Fire chiefs have urged people to be extra vigilant, and avoid flicking cigarettes onto grass land, which will be dry because of the current hot weather.

The London fire brigade has warned it will not attend grass fires during the strike unless there is a risk to life or property.

The capital's fire commissioner, Ron Dobson, said: "A small spark from a cigarette is often all it takes to start a grass fire in these dry conditions so it really is important that smokers dispose of their cigarettes properly.

"Drivers also need to take care not to throw cigarettes out of car windows as they can easily burn grass verges. People barbecuing on open land should also make sure that they extinguish them properly when finished with.

"There is contingency cover during the strike but it isn't a replacement for a normal service. The contingency crews will not attend a grass fire with no risk to life or property, so it's vitally important that Londoners help us stop them from starting in the first place."

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