Smoke can affect those with respiratory conditions; prevent others from enjoying their gardens; and reduces air quality in the district.

"We always see an increase in the amount of complaints relating to smoke from fires around this time of year," says Cllr Penny Plant, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Chichester District Council.

"This can be due to fire pits; burning garden waste; or, even using a disposable barbecue. We just want to remind people that this can sometimes cause issues for others, especially if they have a respiratory condition, and that excessive smoke can affect the air quality."

"It's important to remember that if you do have garden waste that needs disposing of, to consider using the Household Waste Recycling Sites in the district, or our garden recycling scheme. Composting and recycling are always the preferred and more sustainable approach when handling waste..

"It's also about remembering that if you do require a fire, to do this at a time when others aren't out enjoying their garden, or when they have their washing out. Also, let your neighbours know in advance and only burn dry garden waste. Never burn anything that contains plastic, foam or paint and never leave a fire unattended. Bonfires can cause problems and if these occur regularly, the council is required to take enforcement action."

Chichester District Council is also urging people to be cautious and follow official advice when using disposable barbecues.

  • Use approved barbeque fuel or firelighters to light your barbecue, never petrol or paraffin.
  • Keep barbecues away from your house, shed, fences, garden furniture or overhanging trees.
  • Don't leave your barbecue unattended at any time.
  • Empty any ash on to bare soil, not into a dustbin.
  • Place your barbecue on flat ground where it will not fall over.
  • If you are lighting a barbecue in the countryside or on the beach, check beforehand that it is an authorised area.
  • Disposable barbecues should be left to cool for several hours, and covered with plenty of cold water to ensure no risk of reignition.
  • Take care when placing disposable barbecues in kerbside collection bins at home as well, and avoid placing a cooled barbecue in a bin with any flammable liquids which could accelerate reignition.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has seen a sharp rise in the number of call-outs for deliberate fires. These dangerous fires often start as campfires or bonfires, spreading out of control, endangering others and cause serious harm, both to nature and people, as well as major property damage. These incidents also waste the time of essential services, such as the police and fire and rescue service.

Residents are encouraged to report evidence of any unsafe fires being started, even if they are already out, so that rescue services can monitor trends and work with local partners to reduce deliberate fires in the area.

People can find more advice on using bonfires and barbecues safely  on West Sussex Fire and Rescue's website.

Date of release: 29 July 2021

Reference: 4027