ditch - Cheshire Fire and Rescue from Audlem Fire Station displayed a full size fire appliance

Fire officers are warning Cheshire residents not to light fires in their gardens during the coronavirus lock down.

Firefighters attended more than 30 intentionally lit fires in gardens across Cheshire in just seven days at the end of March.

And they were also called to a similar number of accidentally lit small fires.

The fires relate to either controlled burnings, which may have caused a nuisance or concern or fires that may have been started intentionally but then got out of hand and needed to be extinguished by firefighters.

The service says calls to this type of fire are rising daily and the number of incidents is well above average for this period.

The majority are believed to have been intentionally started and have wasted vital Fire Service resources.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gus O’Rourke said: “During these unprecedented times we need everyone to help us by staying as safe as possible.

“Since the start of the lock down situation we’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of garden related fires we are attending and we just don’t need it.

“We will always respond to emergency calls, but unnecessary fires such as these pull our firefighters away from other vital work and could expose them to the coronavirus.

“All fires can easily get out of hand very quickly, especially grass fires, which can travel very quickly and change direction without warning.”

There are no specific laws against burning rubbish in gardens or having a bonfire there.

But there are several laws that deal with nuisance that fires and bonfires can cause.

Gus added: “I understand people may want to keep busy and use this time to clear their gardens.

“And because recycling centres and garden waste collections are temporarily suspended they need to get rid of vegetation, but setting it alight to it is not the answer.”

If any fire starts accidentally in your home then please do not attempt to put the fire out yourself. Get out, stay out and call 999.

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