People in Lichfield and Burntwood are being urged not to hold private firework or bonfire parties as the latest round of firefighter strikes begin.

The walkout by members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will begin at 6pm tonight (October 31) and end a tthe same time on November 4.

And residents are now being asked only to attend organised bonfire events.

Dean Stevens, from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The vast majority of injuries caused by fireworks take place at events held by friends or relatives.

“Lighting a bonfire in your garden can pose a serious risk to those in the vicinity. It could easily get out of hand and spread rapidly, causing at the very least damage to property and at the worst, putting lives in danger.

“The weekends either side of Bonfire Night are traditionally some of our busiest and this year, the situation will be compounded by the national FBU strike.

“Our resources will be stretched so I would ask people to bear this in mind and to take extra care during the strike period.”

The latest walkout is the longest in the recent run of industrial action which has so far seen 11 strikes – and Mr Stevens warned that the level of fire service cover will be affected.

“We have contingency plans in place but I would remind residents that it will not be business as usual,” he said. “We will, however, continue to provide an emergency response to all life-threat situations and will also answer all 999 calls.”

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