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Brigade issues bonfire warning

23 April 2019

GREEN FINGERED Londoners are urged to take extra care while gardening as new figures show that last year 70 per cent of all bonfire blazes happened from April until the end of August.

The figures dispel the myth that fire crews attend more bonfire fires over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period than at other times of the year.

With temperatures rising, those who head out to tend to their gardens should be aware of the dangers of burning garden waste on a bonfire.

In the last five years, firefighters were called to 292 fires caused by bonfires from the start of April to the end of August. In the same five year period, fire crews were called to 50 bonfire related fires in the months of October and November.

Be aware of the dangers

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley said: “As the weather heats up this weekend, if you are planning on getting out in the sun and doing some gardening, make sure you give extra care to how you dispose of your garden waste.

“Bonfires might seem like the quickest and easiest way to get rid of grass trimmings and hedge cuttings, but you need to ensure you never leave a bonfire unattended.

“Remember that the greener the garden waste, the more smoke that may be produced. Thick smoke could cause people to think that there is a serious fire and call the Brigade. You should also consider that the smoke could affect neighbours.

“Make sure you build any bonfire well away from any buildings, sheds, fences, decking areas and hedges and never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire.

“You should also make sure you keep buckets of water or a hosepipe nearby as a precaution.”

The Brigade is also urging gardeners to consider wildlife which may be in their garden after crews found a badly burnt hedgepig at an out of control bonfire in Wembley last week.

Firefighters rescued the hedgehog and gave him oxygen before an RSPCA officer took him to their Putney Animal Hospital for treatment.

DAC Pugsley added: “Before you start building your bonfire, always check the area to make sure there is no wildlife or pets hiding nearby to prevent any animals from getting injured.”

The Brigade’s bonfire safety tips 

  • Build your bonfire well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire and never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries

  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out. If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water

  • Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire