SEVERAL large gorse fires which kept firefighters busy in Netherton last night (Thursday June 3) are believed to have been started deliberately.

Following the incident in the Highbridge Road area, fire chiefs have issued a stern warning to members of the public - urging them to "think twice about the consequences of deliberately starting fires" and the unnecessary risks that places on serving firefighters.

Last night's drama saw 19 firefighters from Dudley, Haden Cross, Brierley Hill and Oldbury fire stations called out to help tackle the flames after an emergency call was made at 8.21pm.

Two fire engines attended along with three of West Midlands Fire Service's 4x4 Brigade Response Vehicles which were able to go off-road to access several seats of fire, with water relayed from the fire engines.

Crews used hose reel jets and beaters to bring the incident to a safe conclusion and they managed to leave the scene by 9.45pm.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Fire Service said afterwards: “Given that there were several seats of fire, we believe they were started deliberately.

“Incidents like this require many resources, aside from the obvious emergency vehicles and crews. A fire control crew will handle the 999 calls and manage the required attendance. We might also need to send specialist support teams and officers.

“While we’re responding to these fires, we’re clearly not able to be out in our communities helping our most vulnerable people to live safely and healthily, or our businesses to be stronger.

“And, in spite of our firefighters’ professionalism and training, such incidents place them in totally unnecessary danger.

“As we enter what will hopefully be a warm, pleasant summer, we’d urge people to think twice about the consequences of deliberately starting fires.

“It’s also timely to ask people to take care when discarding cigarettes and matches, or having barbecues outdoors.”