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Fire service plea after responding to 66 out of control bonfires in one month

PUBLISHED: 07:13 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:36 10 June 2020

Twenty fire fighters were caleld to Yew Tree Court in Hockering on Sunday, after a bonfire, spread to a shed and tree. Picture: Kévin d’Odémont

Twenty fire fighters were caleld to Yew Tree Court in Hockering on Sunday, after a bonfire, spread to a shed and tree. Picture: Kévin d’Odémont

Archant

People across the county are being urged to not light bonfires after fire fighters tackled 66 out of control blazes in one month.

Greg Preston head of prevention and protection at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. Picture: Norfolk Fire and Rescue ServiceGreg Preston head of prevention and protection at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. Picture: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said they responded to nearly double the amount of bonfires in May compared to same period last year, when the figure was 36.

One blaze in Hockering, on May 31, saw 20 firefighters put out a bonfire.

It comes as Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have issued a fresh plea to stop lighting bonfires.

Instead, people are being urged to look at alternative methods to dispose of rubbish including recycling centres, of which 12 have reopened in Norfolk amid lockdown.

Greg Preston, head of prevention and protection at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said the number of out of control bonfires did not come as a surprise but were disappointing.

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He said: “It was an unusually hot month and a lot of the community have been out in the garden doing more work than usual and therefore having more waste to dispose of.

“However, we have spoken a number of times about the dangers of having bonfires and our advice is always to not light bonfires. They can be dangerous, cause a nuisance and are a threat to environment and property.

“People underestimate how easy it is for bonfires to become out of control, particularly in this dry weather, and they spread very quickly.”

Bonfires could cause a risk to life, destroy people’s property and damage the natural environment, Mr Preston added.

He also said responding to bonfires uses up valuable resources that could be available for road traffic accidents or house fires instead.

Mr Preston said: “Bonfires are just very disruptive and use up a lot of resources. At the moment, we are trying as hard as we can to keep crews at fire stations to keep social-distancing and not expose them to a risk of Covid-19.

“The unnecessary responses to bonfires could be a risk not just to crews but the community.”

He added: “My main message to the public is to avoid using bonfires wherever possible, consider the wider consequences of having one and consider alternative ways of disposing and recycling waste.”


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