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Fire Chief: bonfires a dangerous and costly tradition

With the Hallowe’en season upon us. Clare County Council is urging members of the public not to supply any waste material to persons who do not hold a valid waste collection permit.

Clare County Fire and Rescue Service says that substantial costs are incurred each Halloween in responding to bonfire-related incidents, as well as cleaning up after bonfires have taken place. In 2013, the Fire Service attended seven bonfires at a cost of €8,800.

Meanwhile, the environment section of Clare County Council has warned that uncontrolled burning of waste, particularly in bonfires, is illegal under the Air Pollution Act, 1987, and the Waste Management Act, 1996, as amended. It said the burning of waste also releases toxic pollutants into the air which are known to be damaging to public health and the environment.

“I am appealing to the public to work with the staff of Clare County Council and Clare Fire and Rescue Service during the forthcoming Halloween festivities and I wish to remind the public that there are significant risks arising from bonfires, such as the adverse effects on the local community and the negative impact on the general environment,” said Anne Haugh, director of services, Clare County Council.

“Bonfires are an illegal, dangerous and costly tradition,” explained Adrian Kelly, Clare chief fire officer.

He added, “Bonfires are often built close to houses and other property presenting risks to personal safety and property. Halloween is one the busiest times of the year for the fire services and responding to bonfire call outs creates a strain on existing resources. I would like people to be aware of the fire safety hazards that arise from illegal bonfires, where the burning of highly combustible materials may lead to serious injuries or death.”

The Fire Service is also advising members of public not to buy, use or supply fireworks. Mr Kelly noted that illegal fireworks may be manufactured without safety standards and can cause serious damage to users, particularly children.

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