Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is supporting Arson Awareness Week (Monday 21st to Sunday 27th March), a national campaign to help people reduce the risk of being targeted by arsonists.
AF&RS firefighters will be delivering letters to local residents to encourage everyone to play their part in tackling fire related crime.
Arson accounts for almost half of all fires attended by the fire and rescue services and can have devastating effects in terms of its cost and consequences.
In 2014/15, 50 people in England died in fires that were started deliberately. Arson destroys lives and costs over £1 billion each and every year.
If people know who is starting fires in their community and want to help without being identified, they can contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
If you see firesetting or suspicious activity involving fires, contact the police urgently by calling 999.
Group Manager for Risk Reduction at AF&RS, Matt Peskett, said: “Arson can be extremely dangerous as fire can spread very quickly, destroying property and endangering lives.
“When AF&RS is called to a deliberately set fire, it ties up our fire engines which could be needed to attend an emergency elsewhere.
“There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of being targeted by arsonists, including only putting rubbish and recycling out on the day of collection, keeping waste stored outside or in wheelie bins away from property and making sure litter doesn’t build up in shrubs and hedges.
“We work closely with the police to investigate deliberately set fires and anyone found guilty of arson-related behaviour could face a jail sentence of up to 10 years.
“If you witness anyone deliberately lighting a fire you can report them anonymously through the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”