Don't have bonfires during coronavirus pandemic, Sheffield residents urged

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Sheffielders have been urged not to have bonfires during the coronavirus pandemic due to the potential impact on people’s health.

Sheffield Council is asking people to ‘think before they burn’, while South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue is calling on people to pledge not to start a bonfire during the COVID-19 crisis.

The council said it was not able to ban garden fires but could take enforcement action if people were persistently lighting fires and causing a nuisance to neighbours.

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People in Sheffield have been urged not to have bonfires during the coronavirus pandemic (pic: Pixabay)People in Sheffield have been urged not to have bonfires during the coronavirus pandemic (pic: Pixabay)
People in Sheffield have been urged not to have bonfires during the coronavirus pandemic (pic: Pixabay) | Other 3rd Party

The fire service revealed it saw a huge spike in garden fires during the last week in March, which were up by 161 per cent compared to a normal week.

It revealed it had been contacted by numerous residents who said they found it hard to leave their homes to exercise due to the smoke coming from garden fires affecting their health, and pointed out that an increase in air pollution had been shown to harm those with respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.

“We fully appreciate that people will have excess waste, given they are spending much more time at home, but we would really discourage people from burning it off in the garden,” said station manager Steve Jones.

“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.”

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Sheffield Council insisted there was no reason for people to burn garden waste as its waste collection services were operating as normal, with new sign-ups available for the garden waste service.

Ian Ashmore, its head of environmental regulation, said: "We are asking everyone to think before they burn. Bonfires at home present additional risks that are particularly concerning during this pandemic.

“This includes increased pressure on our emergency services, who are already working around the clock to keep people safe.”

You can report issues with garden fires at www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/report or by calling 0114 273 4567.

To sign up for garden waste collections, visit www.veolia.co.uk/sheffield.