27/04/2020 - Permalink

Coronavirus: Think of others and avoid lighting bonfires

Related topics: Adult social care / Community / Coronavirus / Health / Public protection

People are being asked to be considerate to their neighbours and not to light bonfires in their garden during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bonfires are becoming an increasing issue, especially as many people self-isolating at home are vulnerable with respiratory issues. Smoke can have a particularly harmful effect on those people with respiratory conditions such as asthma, who are also at more risk from COVID-19.

Smoke from fires can stop other people from enjoying their own gardens, forcing people to go indoors and keep windows closed which, in the warm weather we are having, can be very uncomfortable, especially when people are not allowed to leave their home as they normally may choose.

Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton, said:

“We urge people not to have bonfires during this coronavirus lockdown period. Please help us to help you by reducing any activity that could lead to us being called out unnecessarily.

“We all need to think about how we are using our outdoor spaces, particularly the garden, and would strongly urge against fires at this time and adding further pressure to the all the emergency services.

“Bonfire smoke often means people are unable to open windows for fresh air and we have had reports that smoke has exacerbated COVID-19 symptoms.”

Mr Hammerton added:

“The last thing the NHS, emergency services and nearby residents need is added pressure – particularly from incidents that can be avoided.

“We must all help each other as much as possible by not lighting bonfires and being considerate of our neighbours, helping protect the NHS and ultimately save lives.

“Call outs to bonfires, whether attended or otherwise, are an unnecessary strain on our service. I am sure the public would want our crews ready and able to respond to a life-threatening emergency call rather than be tied up at a nuisance bonfire.”

Gardening and burning waste

Gardening activities are high on the agenda for many as we try to safely spend time outside. This can generate more waste than at other times of year.

With household recycling centres closed it can be difficult to dispose of this waste.

Currently all household waste collections, including garden waste, is being collected as normal. Burning any waste, including garden waste, is not endorsed by Shropshire Council, and we ask that people do not light any external fires at this time.

As such, any complaints received of smoke causing a nuisance from fires being lit will be treated with the fire service guidance. This could result in legal action being taken against the person responsible.

Please be considerate of those in your community who may be self-isolating due to an underlying health issue which could be made worse by smoke from your bonfire. A smoke-filled garden or house could have a significant negative impact on their health.

Shropshire Council’s regulatory services are still operating, and you can call to report noise or smoke which is affecting you by calling 0345 678 9067 selecting option 2, or email community.protection@shropshire.gov.uk You will be offered advice, and we will endeavor to resolve the problem informally initially. Our methods of working have changed in accordance with safety guidelines.

Keep informed and sign up to our daily Coronavirus email updates

Shropshire Council wants to keep you as up to date and informed as possible. To help us do this, we have developed a coronavirus update that will be sent daily at 8pm via email to anyone who has signed up to our e-bulletins.

This update includes the day’s key Shropshire Council news, and some key news from our partners, relating to coronavirus-linked issues.  Please click here to sign up for the updates.

Please do encourage your family and friends to sign up to the updates too. This will help us keep everyone up to date with the rapidly-evolving crisis.

Useful Links