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Fire Service issues bonfire safety advice after two large fires in one afternoon

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has issued bonfire safety advice after two bonfires caused two large fires within half an hour of each other over the weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, two separate incidents occured in North Essex which saw eight crews dispatched.

The first incident in St Osyth, where an unattended bonfire caught an outbuilding alight and then spread to undergrowth causing a second large fire, saw two crews from Clacton dispatched just after 5pm.

On arrival, crews reported that an outbuilding, measuring approximately 20 metres x 20 metres, was alight with a tractor and wood stored inside.

The fire then spread to undergrowth and ignited a second fire roughly 20 metres by 15 metres.

Crews from Brightlingsea and Weeley were then called to help extinguish the fires and used light portable pumps in a nearby lake to ensure they had enough water.

The second incident, just over 30 minutes later saw four crews called to an outbuilding fire in Ramsay at 5:40pm after a bonfire had spread to an outbuilding in the wind. 

On arrival, two crews from Dovercourt confirmed that an outbuilding, measuring 6 metres by 6 metres, was alight.

The outbuilding was home to a number of cylinders and petrol cans and crews requested a further two crews from Colchester and Manningtree to help shuttle water from the nearest fire hydrant.

Nick Singleton, Operational Risk and Communities Manager for North Essex said: “We had two incidents in the north of the county this weekend where bonfires had spread rapidly in the wind.

“With more windy weather forecast, we’d urge the public not to have bonfires. The flames can spread quickly in the wind, even if you’ve set it far away from things like sheds, fences and trees.

“If you really need to have a bonfire, please check the weather first to make sure it’s not too windy and make sure you keep an eye on it at all times. Before you leave a bonfire, make sure to properly extinguish the embers with water as hot embers could blow in the wind and ignite a fire.”

Read more bonfire safety advice here.


Page last updated 6 July, 2020

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