Warning over garden bonfires after 50ft tree catches alight

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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PEOPLE starting bonfires in back gardens are being warned of fire dangers when a 50ft tree caught on fire last night.

Crews from Cosham fire station were called out to Falmouth Road, Paulsgrove, at around 10pm.

A man had been burning rubbish in his back garden when the fire got out of control and set fire to the tree, which then spread to a shed.

Firefighter Alan Patrick, of red watch at Cosham Fire Station, said: ‘A guy was having a bonfire in his back garden in Paulsgrove.

‘But a fire started after the bonfire spread to a tree and a shed.

‘It was a 50ft fir free – they always go up really well when they catch on fire.

‘The tree caught alight and then it spread to a shed to the left of his garden.’

Initially one fire engine was sent, but second was called out due to the severity of the incident.

Crews tackled the blaze for almost an hour.

‘A problem we faced was the man had made a barrier around the fire with corrugated iron, which meant there was a lot of dragging before getting to the fire,’ added firefighter Patrick.

‘People might not realise but due to the sap in some trees they catch fire and spread rapidly.

‘If you have a row of trees, the fire can spread the whole way along, and if there’s one near to a house then it can catch fire.

‘If you will have a bonfire, make sure it is away from fences and trees, in a clear area, and have a hose in case it does get out of hand.

‘Also dampen nearby trees or fences to limit them catching on fire.’