A WARNING has been issued to homeowners after an unattended bonfire spread to six gardens, sheds and a summerhouse in St Osyth.

Fire crews were called to Dumont Avenue, Point Clear, after the bonfire got out of control on Tuesday at about 4.40pm.

The fire damaged the fences of six gardens, a neighbouring workshop, three sheds, a summerhouse and several wood piles.

The blaze came just three weeks after a man was left homeless after an unattended bonfire caused a massive blaze in nearby Norman Way, Point Clear.

In that incident, one chalet was destroyed, another suffered damage to its roof and a third was affected externally.

Watch manager Andy Marshall, from Clacton Fire Station, has issued safety advice to residents following the latest blaze.

"Bonfire can easily spread out of control, especially in the warm dry condition that we are having this month," he said.

"If it is essential that if you do have a bonfire, you must stay with it all times.

"Unattended bonfires can cause devastating damage to not only your property, but also to your neighbours properties and belongings like what happened in this incident.

"So if you are having a bonfire please take extra care and read our fire safety advice."

The advice includes siting the bonfire well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs and never leaving the bonfire burning unattended.

The stack should be built so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side.

Residents are also advised to never use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire and not to burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, tins of paint and bottles.

People should keep everyone away from the fire, especially children, who must be supervised at all times.

Water should also be poured on the embers before leaving.