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Garden fires 'a cause for concern'

07 April 2020

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are warning residents not to light fires in their gardens during the coronavirus lock down.

In seven days, since March 23, firefighters attended more than 30 intentionally lit fires in gardens across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington and almost the same amount again of accidentally lit small fires. 

These fires relate to either controlled burnings, which may have caused a nuisance or concern or fires that may have been started intentionally but then got out of hand and needed to be extinguished by firefighters. 

Calls to this type of fire are rising daily and the number of such incidents is already well above average for this period.

The majority of these fires are believed to have been intentionally started and have gone on to waste vital Fire Service resources.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service assistant chief fire officer Gus O’Rourke said "During these unprecedented times we need everyone to help us by staying as safe as possible.

“Since the start of the lock down situation we’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of garden related fires we are attending and we just don’t need it. 

“We will always respond to emergency calls, but unnecessary fires such as these pull our firefighters away from other vital work and could expose them to the coronavirus.”

“All fires can easily get out of hand very quickly, especially grass fires, which can travel very quickly and change direction without warning.”

There are not any specific laws against burning rubbish in your garden or having a bonfire there, but there are several laws that deal with the nuisance that fires and bonfires can cause. 

Gus added: “I understand that people may want to keep busy and use this time to clear their gardens, and because recycling centres and garden waste collections are temporarily suspended they need to get rid of vegetation, but setting alight to it is not the answer.”