A gang of mindless teenagers deliberately set fire to trees and bushes just yards from family homes.
Emergency services rushed to woodland off High Wych Way, Hemel Hempstead, to tackle two fires as the blaze took hold on Sunday evening.
And angry residents even claimed the teens threatened them when they were asked to stop.
One resident said: “The teenagers were taking things from nearby skips and loading them into fires they made, laughing while they did it.
“They were told to stop three times but each time they got more aggressive and even threatened to cut a neighbour’s TV wires.”
The resident believes the youngsters wanted to cause a wider fire in the woodland and feared homes could be put at risk.
“We were really worried as the fire would have easily spread in the woodland,” she added.
“There is a lot of vulnerable families here with young kids and babies.”
Inspector Jeff Scott has urged parents to speak to their children about what they are doing when they’re out and about.
He said: “The consequences of playing with fire can be devastating and result in life-long injuries or worse.”
The group of three to four teenagers are described as being in their early to late teens, and were seen leaving the scene on a bicycle. All fires were extinguished by 6.45pm.
Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting ISR 535 of April 7.