Firefighters are calling for careful controlled burning to avoid needless emergency callouts.
With spring now well under way and people clearing garden waste and farmers tidying up their land, the number of bonfires is on the rise.
Over the last few weeks Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has been called to a number of incidents where members of the public have reported fires that have been attended as emergencies but on arrival have been found to be controlled burning.
* A garden fire in Stanhope Road, Carlisle.
* A fire in the open on Flimby Brow, Flimby
* A fire in the open on Lowca Lane, Siddick
To help prevent firefighters being needlessly deployed, residents are being asked to notify CFRS when they plan to carry out controlled burning and make sure they take the relevant precautions to prevent fires getting out of control.
Calls to notify the service about planned bonfires can be made via the new non-emergency number – 0300 303 8623.
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Cumbria’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Adrian Buckle said: “There are always risks when carrying out controlled burning so it is ideally best avoided for that reason. We’d urge people to dispose of garden waste in recycling bins or at household waste recycling centres where possible, but if they do need to burn waste then it should be done extremely carefully.
“Bonfires should never be left unattended, should be a safe distance from nearby buildings or objects and lit with weather conditions in mind. Very dry or windy weather can increase the risk of a fire spreading out of control.
“When people are carrying out controlled burning, whether it be in the garden or on farmland, we’d ask them to notify us with a quick phone call so if members of the public report fires we’ll know whether or not they’re planned and under control.
"Our fire control room staff will provide advice and guidance to callers to enable controlled burning to be undertaken safely.
“A fire engine can only be in one place at one time so if we’re called to non-emergencies it could impact on our attendance time to an incident where we’re really needed.”