A CAMPAIGN launched to dampen illegal bonfires has been declared a roaring success.
The two-week awareness drive aimed to reduce the number of unnecessary calls to the fire and rescue service in County Durham.
Residents were being warned of the dangers fires on public land can create and encouraged not to supply materials that could be used for burning.
They were also urged to report any illegal wood piles, so they could be dismantled and removed before they could be set alight.
The initiative was organised by Durham County Council and Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service through the Safe Durham Partnership, which have announced their efforts were a success.
Fire crews attended six bonfire-related incidents on Friday night in comparison with 48 incidents in 2009, a reduction of 87.5 per cent.
They also dealt with a further nine secondary fires, where they were called to unattended fires on wasteland.
Six of these were in East Durham, with two reported in Third Street, Horden, and others in Windsor Drive, South Hetton, Kipling Avenue and Lime Avenue in Blackhall, and Rainton Street in Seaham,
Paul Reay, director of community safety of the fire service, said “I am delighted that we have been able to continue the reduction in the number of bonfire related incidents attended over the last four years.
“To achieve a reduction over this period shows the dedication of all our staff to work towards the service’s vision of Safest People, Safest Places.”
Oliver Sherratt, chairman of the antisocial behaviour group of the Safe Durham Partnership, added: “Fire crews and officers, grounds staff, wardens, police and Police Community Social Officers have been working hard together in our communities to educate and where necessary enforce against illegal bonfires and arson.”
He added: “The results are pleasing, although, of course, not a cause for complacency as any injury or incident is one too many.”
Residents were also asked not to provide old furniture or waste materials to youngsters who call at their home, ensure their wheeled bins were replaced promptly after emptying so they can not be targeted and not allow waste to build up outside their homes.
The council’s neighbourhood wardens worked with police and firefighters to identify fires, which were removed by the authority’s clean and green teams.
They also visited schools to talk about bonfire safety and delivered information leaflets to households in hotspot areas.