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11/5/2012 - Fire Service issues bonfire warning

Firefighters in Carlisle are issuing a warning following a spate of call-outs to bonfires in the city.

In the past week Cumbria County Council's Fire and Rescue Service has attended four private bonfires to tackle blazes that have got out of control.

With people doing spring cleans and tidying up their gardens, spring can be a peak time for bonfires so the Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to take a few simple safety steps when building and lighting a bonfire. These include:

  • Bonfires should be 18 metres from any buildings, sheds, trees, fences, overhead cables and car parking areas
  • Only clean dry timber should be burned
  • Don't burn aerosols, batteries, bottles, foam-filled furniture, tins of paint or tyres
  • Don't leave bonfires unattended
  • Don't use petrol, paraffin, diesel, white spirit or methylated spirit - use firelighters instead
  • Don't light the fire if it's windy in case burning embers blow away and start fires
  • Always check that no children or animals are hiding in the bonfire before lighting it
  • Keep some buckets of water or hosepipe nearby in case of emergency and to damp down after the fire
  • Always extinguish your bonfire once you have finished
  • Bonfires built on publicly owned land without permission will be removed.
  • Inform neighbours if you plan to have a bonfire and make them aware the fire is under control.

Carlisle West station manager Craig Drinkald said: "Bonfires have the potential to quickly spread and get out of control if not built and lit properly so I'd call on anyone having a bonfire to follow the proper safety precautions.

"We attend a large amount of calls related to bonfires - sometimes well meaning passers by will see the smoke and assume the fire is a danger or the fire will get out of control and require our assistance.

"If people are instant on having a bonfire them they need to let the fire service know. You can make the fire service aware of your bonfire by contacting our control centre on 0800 358 4777 or their local fire station.

"This time of year also traditionally sees people having their own bonfires to get rid of garden waste, but we would urge people to not use this method to dispose of waste and recycle it instead."

Media enquiries to communications adviser John Ballard on 01228 221752