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Firefighters attend four fires in a single day, caused by bonfires


Firefighters are warning the public to be extra careful when lighting bonfires in their gardens after crews attended four accidental blazes in a single day over the weekend.

Crews from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) were called to fires across the county on Saturday (March 28) which were all believed to have been caused by bonfires.

In one incident a shed, fencing, a trampoline and hedgerow were damaged in a fire. Another blaze resulted in damage to a workshop, and in a separate incident, a stray ember is believed to have ignited a summerhouse.

With more people at home carrying out gardening and other DIY projects, NFRS has been expecting to see a spike in domestic bonfires as people attempt to burn materials.

But the Fire Service is warning people to take care as a ‘controlled’ burn in a garden can easily become out of control if it is not carried out properly or if inappropriate items are burned.

Prevention Team Leader Darren Carson said:We are urging people to please be careful if attempting to set up a bonfire.

“We would encourage people not to have these fires if possible but, if they do continue to have them, they should be sited well away from anything that could possibly ignite.

“Caution should also be exercised in the kinds of materials used as some items can be dangerous to burn and could give off toxic fumes or produce significant smoke plumes which result in a call to the fire service anyway.”

Tips to safer bonfires

  • If setting a bonfire, make sure it is well away from sheds, fences, overhanging trees and anything that could ignite
  • Please be considerate of your neighbours. For many people, gardens are spaces where they can be while self-isolating. Remember some materials produce a lot of smoke when burnt and this can prompt calls to the fire service, even if your bonfire is controlled
  • Always keep a hose or bucket of water nearby just in case the fire spreads
  • Be aware of the wind direction when having a bonfire, looking out for what could possibly ignite if the fire spreads
  • DO NOT burn household rubbish. Items such as aerosols are not safe to burn and some materials such as plastics can give off toxic fumes. Other rubbish inappropriate for burning includes paint tins and tyres
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to light the fire
  • Before lighting, check the structure is sound and that animals/children haven’t crept inside it
  • Make sure the person lighting the fire and helpers know what to do if clothing catches fire – stop, drop and roll

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