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Summer Heatwave - Increase In Out Of Control Fires

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is appealing to members of the public to take extra care when having garden/rubbish fires as the Service sees an increase in calls to attend out of control bonfires, intensified by the rising temperatures of the summer heatwave.

Since the beginning of the week, the number of calls to attend out of control bonfires has doubled and with the nice weather set to continue, measures are being taken to prevent further fires occurring.

The nice weather provides the perfect opportunity for people to get out into the garden and many choose to have a garden fire to dispose of their garden waste.  Grass and vegetation has become tinder dry due to the intense heat and dry weather and without precautionary measures being taken, garden fires can quickly spread across grass, to fencing, sheds, garages, pet enclosures and even the home. 

Accidental Fires

June 2018: The Service has attended 44 accidental fires in the open; these include out of control bonfires and discarded barbecues.

Yesterday the Service attended six domestic garden fires, compared to the same date in May when Firefighters attended two such fires.

Deliberate Fires

June 2018: The Service has responded to 66 deliberate fires in the open.  More recent incidents include farmland and areas of grass and vegetation that have been deliberately set alight.

Area Manager Bob Curry said: “Due to the high temperatures that we have been enjoying the ground and surrounding vegetation is tinder dry, this means a simple garden fire can soon escalate out of control, spreading quickly across grass, and even setting fire to sheds, fences and houses as it takes hold. I’d therefore ask people to take extra care if considering having a garden fire, especially whilst the ground it so dry and the risk of spread is higher. 

“In order to help reduce the number of calls to out of control bonfires, anyone having a controlled burn/garden fire should contact our control room operators on 01332 861800, so that they can make a note of the location, and also offer essential fire prevention advice to help prevent a 999 emergency.”

Barbecues are another fire risk increased by the hot, dry weather. 

Area Manager Curry went onto say: “Barbecues must be placed well away from anything that could catch fire to reduce the chance of a fire spreading to sheds and homes.”

The following fire safety advice is essential for a safe summer:

Reporting your Garden Fire/Controlled Burns

If you are having a garden fire, please ring Fire Control on 01332 861800 to inform them of the fire. 

They will:

  • Record the location the fire is taking place.
  • Offer fire safety advice.
  • Ask you to contact them when the fire is out.

Safety Advice 

  • Site fires on bare earth, away from dry grass/vegetation that can easily catch fire.
  • Keep bonfires away from overhanging trees/shrubs and away from sheds, garages, the home and any pet enclosures.
  • Do not use petrol or accelerants to light the fire.
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose pipe on hand in case of an emergency.

 Barbecue Safety

  • Keep the barbecue away from overhanging trees/shrubs and away from sheds, garages, the home and any pet enclosures.
  • Never use petrol or accelerants to light the barbecue.
  • If using a disposable barbecue, place it on a hard, fire proof surface – never on dry grass.
  • Place hot coals onto bare earth to cool down and never put them into a wheelie bin, or other bin that could catch fire.  Consider the safe disposal of one-use barbecues.
  • Keep a bucket of water, or hose pipe on hand in case of an emergency.

Fire Safety in the Open

Derbyshire has some beautiful countryside which supports a thriving ecosystem of plants and animals.  In order to protect this from the devastation of fire, we ask that people are mindful of the following advice:

  • Don’t throw/discard cigarettes out of car windows.  Dispose of them properly.
  • Don’t leave glass bottles lying around – the sun can magnify through the glass causing a fire.
  • If having a BBQ in the open, make sure you place it on bare earth, away from dry grass, and never leave the BBQ until it is completely out.

In the case of an emergency call 999 immediately.

For more information about keeping safe outdoors, visit