THE chief fire officer for North Wales has said people spending more time at home could result in an increase in fires.

Simon Smith, of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said residents have a “really important part to play” in preventing unnecessary callouts for firefighters as the coronavirus outbreak puts pressure on emergency services across Wales.

He said it was “extremely disheartening” that its crews had been called to deliberate fires in recent weeks despite communities facing a “time of national emergency when we all need to pull together”.

“From experience, we know that when people spend more time at home the risk of fire can increase,” he said.

“Whilst you are at home the biggest favour you can do for us right now is to take extra care, so that you reduce the demand on our services.

“I am urging everyone to take extra care to help us to prevent incidents from happening in the first place.”

Mr Smith’s advice includes testing smoke alarms, being aware of the dangers of unattended cooking, disposing of cigarettes carefully, ensuring electrical sockets are not overloaded, switching off appliances before going to bed, and to avoid controlled burning in gardens or farmland.