Fears after FIVE grass fires 'deliberately started' this month in Sheffield woods near homes
A series of grass fires in woodland near homes in Sheffield have left people fearing for their safety.
There have been five blazes already this month at the Hartley Brook site in Parson Cross, all of which are believed by residents to have been started deliberately by children.
Firefighters have thankfully arrived in time to prevent serious damage being caused but one woman whose house backs onto the land fears it is only a matter of time before one of the fires gets badly out of control and someone is injured.
The woman, who lives with her 92-year-old father on Holgate Road, told how she always has her hose at the ready and is afraid to leave her home in case she returns to find it devoured by flames.
She claimed she and a neighbour had seen the culprits on two occasions, once when there were three of them aged as little five or six and the other time when a teenager and a slightly younger boy were seen running away.
"It's getting to the stage where I'm frightened to leave my home because the fires are so close to our garden fence," said the resident, who asked not to be named.
"The fire brigade has arrived very quickly every time so far but what if they're dealing with another incident next time it happens and the fire gets out of control or if it's in part of the woods which is hard for them to access?
"It's only a matter of time before somebody gets seriously injured but it's just silly little children doing this who probably don't realise the harm they could be causing.
"If whoever's doing this is caught they should be made to visit a burns unit so they realise how serious the consequences could be."
The woman said this was not the first year young people had started fires deliberately in the woods, through which the Gutter Tongue stream runs, but this summer had been the worst for a while.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue earlier this month issued a warning after being called out to a wave of grass fires, some of which are believed to have been started deliberately, during the heatwave.
The fire service urged people to extinguish cigarettes properly and not to leave any rubbish, especially glass bottles, on the ground. People were also advised not to start camp fires in the countryside.