FIREFIGHTERS have issued a warning after an unattended bonfire caused two fires in St Osyth.

Four fire crews from Clacton, Brightlingsea and Weeley were called to the village following reports of a fire at Dairy Farm Meadow, Point Clear, about 5.10pm on Sunday.

The unattended bonfire caught an outbuilding alight and then spread to undergrowth causing a second large fire.

Two crews from Clacton were called to extinguish an outbuilding fire in St Osyth just after 5pm.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

  • Unattended - a bonfire caused large fires in St Osyth. Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

On arrival, crews reported that an outbuilding, measuring approximately 20 metres by 20 metres, was alight with a tractor and wood stored inside.

The fire then spread to undergrowth and ignited a fire roughly 20 metres by 15 metres.

Crews from Brightlingsea and Weeley were then called to help extinguish the fires and used light portable pumps in a nearby lake to ensure they had enough water.

The blaze was extinguished by 8.45pm.

Watch Manager Jim Boywer, from Clacton Fire Station said: “Never leave a bonfire unattended.

"They can ignite nearby materials and in dry and windy weather, like on Sunday, and can spread quickly and become uncontrollable."

Chelmsford Weekly News:

  • Fire - a warning was issued after the blaze in St Osyth. Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

The latest incident comes despite previous warnings by firefighters relating to out of control bonfires.

In April, crews were called to a series of blazes, including a bonfire which spread to fences in Mill Street, St Osyth, a barn that went up in flames in Pilcox Hall Lane, Tendring, and an outbuilding fire in Coopers Lane, Clacton.

It was believed that the increase in such fires was the result of people being confined to their homes in the lockdown.

In July last year there were a number of serious fires caused by a unattended bonfires, including one in which a man was left homeless after bonfire spread causing a massive blaze that destroyed a chalet in Norman Way, Point Clear.

Just weeks later an unattended bonfire spread to six gardens, a workshop, sheds and a summerhouse in nearby Dumont Avenue, Point Clear.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said bonfire should be sited well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs and never leaving the bonfire burning unattended.

The stack should be built so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side.

Residents are also advised to never use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire and not to burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, tins of paint and bottles.

People should keep everyone away from the fire, especially children, who must be supervised at all times.

Water should also be poured on the embers before leaving.