CUMBRIA Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to remain vigilant in the countryside following a spate of deliberate fires in open spaces across the county.

The service has received dozens of call-outs to deliberate fires since the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in March – on top of numerous accidental fires that have also been faced as a result of the warmer weather.

Last month, firefighters tackled two wildfires in the Kendal area (both on April 21), at Benson Knott Fell - attended by six fire crews - and at Underbarrow.

Craig Drinkald, area manager for community safety at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said: “These deliberate incidents are causing firefighters to be taken away from what could potentially be real life-threatening emergencies at a time when the service is supporting the emergency response to Covid-19.

“Fires that are caused deliberately or carelessly in the open can have devastating effects on the environment, but importantly endanger people’s lives and homes."