Lincolnshire has seen the UK’s second biggest rise in outbuilding fires, with lockdown bonfires being blamed for the increase.
The latest figures from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue show a 50% year-on-year rise in fires involving garages and garden sheds, between 2019 and 2020. Only Lancashire has seen a steeper increase, with a 58% jump in incidents.
Dan Moss, area manager for prevention and protection at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “In 2020, we did see an increase in fires involving domestic sheds and garages compared to the previous year.
“These were caused by a variety of different things, including smoking materials not being extinguished properly, electrical faults in appliances such as tumble driers, and vehicle fires.
“However last year we saw an additional 10 fires caused by bonfires out of control spreading in people’s gardens, which accounts for half of the additional incidents.
“Many of these took place during lockdowns, and people spending more time in their homes generally in 2020 potentially accounts for much of this increase.”
In 2019 there were 11 fires involving garages and 29 fires involving garden sheds, but in 2020 those figures rose to 19 and 41, respectively.
With autumn now approaching, Dan had this advice for people looking to tidy up their gardens and have a bonfire: “If you have garden waste to burn, please only burn dry materials, and make sure your bonfire is away from fences, trees, hedges and sheds.
“Never use petrol or paraffin to start a bonfire and don’t leave it unattended. On windy days, fire can easily spread and get out of control, so please only have a bonfire if the conditions are still.”