FIREFIGHTERS battling a series of bonfires have issued safety advice.

Crews from across Swindon were called to five fires in allotments, woodland and gardens on Monday evening. The recent hot weather has left vegetation tinder-dry.

The fire service has urged anyone thinking of having a bonfire to light it well away from buildings and trees.

Area Manager Byron Standen said: “We have recently dealt with a higher than normal number of fires involving bonfires and barbecues, as these can get out of control very easily while the conditions are so dry.

“If you are burning off garden waste, please site any bonfire well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures, and have a garden hose to hand in case the fire starts to get out of control. If a fire does escalate, call 999 immediately.”

On Monday evening, Swindon firefighters were called to put out a large area of straw alight near Malvern Road, Gorse Hill. A Westlea crew used a hose reel jet to extinguish a fire in Clayhill Copse, Peatmoor.

Shortly after 10pm, the same Westlea fire crew were sent to reports of an out-of-control bonfire in Ferndale Road, Gorse Hill. Paramedics were called to help a woman after she inhaled smoke. At the same time, firefighters from the Drove Road fire station were using beaters to put out burning grass behind Hawksworth Way.

Earlier today, Central Swindon North Parish Council banned bonfires on allotments owned by the council. They tweeted: “Due to several grass fires across our parish requiring the fire service, controlled fires on allotment plots are now prohibited.”