CHESHIRE Fire and Rescue Service have issues top tips to stay safe this bonfire period and avoid the ‘tragic’ consequences of unsafe practices.

This time of year is one of the busiest for firefighters, who often have to deal with nuisance and deliberate fires.

Firefighters want the public to enjoy their celebrations, but in a safe and controlled environment.

And to do so, they are encouraging residents to attend organised bonfires or heed the following safety advice if starting their own:

• Never use flammable liquids such as paraffin or petrol to light fires

• Position the bonfire well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and fireworks

• Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side

• Don't burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, tins of paint and bottles

• Keep everyone away from the fire - especially children, who must be supervised at all the times

• In case of emergency, keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready for use

If you plan on using fireworks, always buy them from a reputable retailer to make sure that they conform to British standards.

You can check this by making sure the fireworks have BS 7114 written on the box.

Winsford Guardian:

The fire service has also issued the following tips to keep yourself, friends and family safe when using fireworks.

• Stand well back and light fireworks at arm's length using a taper

• Only buy fireworks that are CE marked and follow the instructions carefully

• Never give sparklers to a child under five and always supervise children around fireworks

• Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves

• Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks, never keep them in your pocket and never throw them

• Never go near a firework that has been lit - even if it hasn't gone off it could still explode.

• Pour water on the embers before leaving

Andy Gray, deliberate fire reduction manager for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Safety is our number one priority and our advice would always be to go to an organised display, as it is much safer to do so.

“People might see starting a small bonfire or setting off fireworks as a bit of harmless fun, but fire is extremely unpredictable and can easily get out of control and spread – and tragic accidents can happen with fireworks.

"This is always a busy time of year for the Service and we work closely with police, local authorities and youth projects to educate and involve local communities in a bid to keep them as safe as possible, and the number of incidents of deliberate fires as low as possible.

"We will be monitoring high activity areas throughout this period, and we would ask the public to support us in reducing deliberate fires by ensuring wheelie bins and rubbish are not left out in the open - once your bin has been emptied please ensure you put it away securely.”

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Fires lit prior to bonfire night or fires which are near to property, trees or fences on the day itself will be extinguished by crews if they are deemed unsafe or have been left unattended.

To report any unlit dangerous bonfires that require removal in Cheshire West, call 0300 123 7026.

Unlit bonfires in Cheshire East can be removed by calling 0300 123 501.