STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is appealing to people to stop igniting bonfires and burning rubbish during the current Covid-19 lockdown.
The Service has received more than double its usual calls since lockdown began on March 23.
A weekly average of ninety nine calls - around 14 per day - were received to controlled burns and rubbish fires – both domestic and other types of incidents – in the first seven weeks of the lockdown.
In the previous seven weeks, SFRS received a weekly average of 44 of these calls. In mid-April there were 128 incidents in one week.
Deputy Fire Chief Rob Barber said it was important that people were sensible when disposing of garden waste at home, or waste at other premises, by using the council services on offer (if available in your area) and not resort to burning them.
“Although the number of these calls is starting to reduce, the advice is simple: Don’t burn it. Bin it. Please protect the environment, be considerate to your neighbours and dispose of your waste appropriately.”
The call comes as fire crews have attended a rising number of related incidents in the past month, including a recent incident where petrol was used to start a bonfire which quickly went out of control and caused burns to a man.
Deputy Fire Chief Barber said: “We’ve had a number of bonfire and controlled-burn related incidents over the past weeks that have added extra pressure onto us during, what is already, a difficult period.
“Fire can spread very quickly and we have seen recent examples where fires have been started and spread to houses and buildings and harmed people as a direct result of burning garden waste.
“We’re working tirelessly with all local partners to meet the challenges brought to us by the Covid-19 lockdown and to reduce the demand on our hospitals.”
Householders should check with their local council website for waste collection and tip opening times.