AF&RS asks for residents to avoid starting bonfires

Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) is asking for residents to avoid having bonfires or controlled burns as this puts unnecessary pressure on emergency services.

Over the last five days alone, AF&RS has been deployed to 30 bonfires which delays and hinders crews' ability to respond to potentially life threatening incidents.

It also puts pressure on the 999 emergency number which serves the police and ambulance, potentially delaying those who need it from receiving help.

Simon Shilton, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for AF&RS, said: “We understand that this is a challenging time for many members of our communities.

“Those who are currently working from home might be taking the time to sort out their homes or gardens and potentially have bonfires to dispose of waste or for other reasons.

“However, we have seen a large uptake in calls regarding bonfires or unattended fires. Every time we respond to one of these incidents, our crews are potentially delayed assisting with life threatening incidents.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we would ask all members of the community to consider the fire service and all emergency services before taking part in such activities.

“Emergency services are stretched at the time being so it is key that we keep 999 calls to a minimum and for those that are needed.”

If you do continue to have a bonfire, please follow these safety tips:

  • Advise your neighbours so they don’t call 999
  • Build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees.
  • Don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going. It could get out of control and injure you or loved ones.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby, in case of an emergency.
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended.
  • Keep children and pets away from the bonfire.
  • Don’t burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint. They may produce toxic fumes or explode.