Dorset has been hit by a series of rural blazes and callouts to out-of-control bonfires.

If you’re planning to start a bonfire this summer, the fire service is giving advice on how to do it safely and ensure you don’t end up with the fire brigade at your doorstep or end up with a fine.

While your bonfire may not be illegal, it could risk landing you a criminal offence if not managed properly.

If the smoke from your fire is blown onto a road or railway and causes danger to passing traffic, you are at risk of receiving a fine of up to £5,000.

Furthermore, you cannot burn domestic waste such as plastic, used motor oil or rubber, or anything that may cause pollution or harm to public health; not only are the fumes toxic, but it is highly illegal.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service are regularly called to reports of fires which later turn out to be bonfires or land clearance, wasting the time of the service.

To prevent your bonfire being interrupted with a fire engine at your doorstep, you can alert Fire Control in advance by calling 0306 799 0019 or completing an online notification on their website.

When planning your bonfire, ensure it is sited well away from buildings, fences, trees, garden structures and anything else flammable.

It is vital you have safety measures in place to control the bonfire and prevent it from becoming out of control.

Ensure a hose is on hand, as well as buckets of water and sand to extinguish it the blaze if it begins to get too big.

Do not leave the bonfire unattended at any time.

Never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to light a bonfire as they may catch the whole bonfire alight much quicker than is controllable or even explode.

When fuelling the bonfire, do not use green leaves as they create a lot of smoke and do not dump entire armfuls of fuel such as wood into the fire, as it can quickly transform into a blaze.

Do not light a bonfire on a windy day as the bonfire may flare up a lot more than expected and carry smoke downwind.

And most importantly, be courteous to your neighbours and let them know in advance that you wish to have a bonfire.

If a bonfire is causing you nuisance, Dorset Council has advised to approach your neighbour and politely tell them how the bonfire is affecting you as people are often unaware of the way smoke is blowing – and subsequently the effect is having on you.

If after discussing the matter, the neighbour continues to light bonfires which you feel cause you nuisance, report the problem to the council via their website and they will investigate.

Some people believe they should be banned during summer days, especially at evenings and weekends when people want to sit out in their gardens.