Firefighters are having to put out a growing number of out-of-control bonfires which they blame on the closure of rubbish tips in response to the coronavirus crisis.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue urged people to “refrain from garden bonfires” and dispose of their waste more responsibly.
The plea comes after Brighton and Hove City Council asked people not to light woodburning stoves or bonfires during the coronavirus outbreak.
The council said that poor air quality and “particulate matter” could worsen the breathing difficulties experienced by some people locally.
The fire service said: “East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service would like to offer advice to residents due to an increase in incidents involving garden bonfires which are getting out of control.
“This increase is believed to be a result of the closure of household waste recycling centres, until further notice, caused by the current challenges with covid-19.
“Social distancing measures, put in place by the government, mean that visits to these household waste recycling sites do not fall within the reasons for leaving your home.
“The service requests that residents refrain from garden bonfires due to the increased fire risk that this creates.
“Additionally, garden fires cause both a nuisance to neighbours and other members of the public.
“With large numbers of residents remaining inside their homes self-isolating, it is important that we can all get clean fresh air into our homes.
“While there are no laws against having a bonfire, there are laws for the nuisance they can cause.
“Household waste should not be burned at all. If you do, you might be committing an offence and could face prosecution.
“A more responsible approach would be to compost – or recycle your garden waste when local recycling centres reopen.
“These are not only safer options, prevent a potential offence being committed, but also better for the environment and for the more vulnerable members of our communities who are self-isolating at home during the covid 19 outbreak.”