Lancashire fire crews urge people not to burn household waste in gardens during lockdown

Lancashire fire crews are urging people not to burn waste in their gardens during the coronavirus lockdown.

By Matthew Calderbank
Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 3:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 3:48 pm

Since lockdown began nearly three weeks ago, fire crews in Lancashire have been dealing with a sharp increase in 'nuisance fires'.

These rage from malicious, anti-social fires targeting buildings, vehicles and grasslands, to households lighting small bonfires in gardens.

The service said it has seen a spike in garden fires following the closure of the county's waste recycling centres during lockdown.

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Fire crews respond to a grass fire at Ribble Link in Preston, believed to have been started deliberately, on March 31

It said smoke caused by burning waste can affect neighbours with health issues, including people suffering from coughs and shortness of breath due to coronavirus.

And this 'controlled burning' has led to a number of fires getting out of control and swiftly spreading, requiring the urgent mobilisation of fire crews.

It has led to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service issuing a warning to those considering starting a fire outdoors.

A fire service spokesman said: "In recent weeks, the improving weather has brought with it a notable increase in nuisance fires across the county.

"From small bonfires in gardens to anti-social fire setting out in the community.

"As we all begin to adjust to life under lockdown many of us will be looking to catch up on the odd job around the house. From clearing the garage and tidying up the loft, to sprucing up the garden.

"And, with many local councils running reduced waste collection services and closing recycling centres we are seeing many households think about bonfires as a way to remove waste.

"We urge people to be considerate when it comes to burning waste and ask you not to do so at this time.

"Whilst the smells might be unpleasant the smoke could have more serious implications.

"Any neighbours with underlying respiratory issues, or even suffering from coronavirus itself could find their conditions aggravated by these fires.

"We would ask that you compost what you can and hold on to any extra waste until normal waste collection services are resumed and waste recycling centres are reopened.

"And to those individuals who seek to aggravate an already difficult situation we ask them to think about the wider consequences of their actions.

"Tying up valuable emergency service resources could have serious consequences for other people in the community who may genuinely really need our help.

"We will continue to work with partners to investigate malicious, deliberate fires and would encourage anyone with any information about such incidents to come forward and speak to Lancashire Constabulary.

"In the meantime, we ask that people consider their actions and do what they can to assist in supporting their community."