South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have asked people to pledge to not have garden fires during lockdown after a huge spike in incidents.
In the final week of March there was a 161% increase in garden fire incidents compared to a normal week – putting unnecessary strain on emergency services.
As well as potentially wasting five firefighters’ time, a service spokesperson said they had been contacted by residents who couldn’t leave their homes to exercise due to air pollution caused by the fires.
“If a garden fire gets out of control, which so easily happens, we have to send a full crew to deal with it. The smoke can also cause real issues for people with respiratory illnesses – we’ve had reports from some people who haven’t been able to go out in their own gardens,” said Station Manager, Steve Jones.
It is thought that air pollution from bonfires could cause further problems for those suffering from respiratory problems due to COVID-19.
The fire service hopes people will support their firefighters and those with respiratory illnesses by pledging not to have bonfires during the pandemic.
“At a time when we all need to come together we’re asking that, whilst they’re staying at home, people head to our website and pledge not to have a garden fire during the on-going pandemic – it only takes 30 seconds and will make a big difference.”
SYFR is hoping people will take and share the online pledge in order to spread the word about the dangers of garden fires.
You can find out more about the pledge here: http://www.syfire.gov.uk/pledge/