FIRE chiefs have warned that any fires lit before Bonfire Night in the county will be extinguished .
They are also urging people to attend organised bonfire and firework displays rather than hold their own in back gardens.
Colin Heyes, arson reduction manager for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We want everyone to be as safe as possible and what may seem like harmless fun can easily end in disaster when it comes to fireworks and bonfires - fire is unpredictable and can easily get out of control so make sure you remember the night for the right reasons and go to an organised display.”
Any fires lit before November 5 will be extinguished by fire crews and any lit on the day that are deemed unsafe – particularly if they are near properties, trees or fences – will also be put out.
Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, Cllr Bob Rudd, said: “Sadly a lot of our time is taken up dealing with deliberate fires and we work closely with police, local authorities and schools to try and reduce these each year.
“Firefighters have been busy engaging with communities in hotspot areas to educate people about how they can help if they see dangerous and nuisance bonfires. People can also help to reduce incidents of arson by ensuring their wheelie bins are stored away and by not leaving rubbish out for people to use to fuel bonfires.”
As well as working with young people and parents to educate people on the consequences of nuisance fires, the fire service has also teamed up with the council's waste recovery team to remove potentially dangerous bonfires.
The public can also do their bit to reduce the likelihood of deliberate fires by ensuring wheelie bins and rubbish are not left out in the open.
Firefighters will be working closely with Cheshire Police over the bonfire period to keep people safe.
Typically the emergency services in Cheshire receive more than 1,000 calls about crime and anti-social behaviour on Bonfire Night.
Superintendent Peter Crowcroft said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves over the bonfire period and it’s a great time for families to have fun, but sadly there are always a few people who spoil it for others.
“Our officers, PCSOs and Specials will be out over the bonfire period and will provide a visible presence on the streets dealing with incidents of criminal damage, but people can call us on 101 if they have any concerns. Anyone in possession of fireworks deemed to be acting in an anti-social manner will have their fireworks confiscated by officers.”
A list of organised firework and bonfire displays can be found on our website www.cheshirefire.gov.uk
See full story in the Chester Leader