A FIRE chief has issued a warning about the dangers of burning rubbish - and the explosive risk posed by overheated aerosol cans.

During the lockdown, fire crews across the county have been called to an increasing number of rubbish fires, some of which have had the potential to spread because of tinder-dry areas of vegetation in the countryside, said Carlisle crew manager Dave Burn.

He expressed particular concern about the danger posed by heated aerosol cans, which can explode with terrifying violence. The warning has come after a fire crew from the west of Carlisle were called out yesterday to a rubbish fire at Thurstonfield, a few miles west of the city.

The alarm was raised after somebody heard aerosol cans exploding.

“We’ve had examples of an aerosol can being heated - albeit accidentally - and the explosion has caused structural damage to a property,” said Mr Burn. “The shock wave from the explosion can be powerful enough to displace walls.”

Mr Burn said the recent increase in rubbish fires may be linked to the closure of local tips. He added: “We want people to think before they start fires - and certainly never put an aerosol can on a fire. It’s an important message to put out there because we have seen an increase in nuisance fires.”

Crews arrived at the fire yesterday to find a piles of burning rubbish, left unattended.

There was evidence of previous fires at the location and charred aerosols.

The team’s Facebook post said: “It is extremely dangerous to dispose of aerosols in a fire as they will explode when heated (even if they have been used to exhaustion). We have had cases where a heated aerosol has caused significant structural damage to properties when they explode.

“We would like to remind everyone to recycle or use waste collection services whenever possible. Burning off rubbish can be dangerous especially in hot conditions like recent days as vegetation is dry and fire can quickly spread out of control.

“If you are incinerating refuse then it must be controlled and supervised and not contain hazardous items such as aerosols or batteries or electronic devices. These can explode suddenly causing injury and further fire spread. We recommend not burning waste outdoors in this hot weather regardless.”