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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 05:51 GMT 06:51 UK
Religious festival fire warnings
Candles being lit for Diwali
Diwali is also known as the festival of lights
Warnings about fire safety have been given to people celebrating two major religious festivals this month.

South Wales Fire Service is urging people celebrating Diwali and Eid Ul Fitr to be aware of fire safety in the home during the festivities.

Diwali is associated with candle use, while special meals are prepared for Eid - both of which the brigade says cause a rise in home fires.

Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, while Muslims mark Eid.

The brigade, which covers areas including Cardiff and Newport which both have large communities celebrating the two festivals, says it is concerned that "safety comes second" at times of any celebration, including Christmas.

Boy praying during Ramadan
Meals are prepared to celebrate the end of Ramadan

Chief Fire Officer, Brian Fraser said: "It is ironic and tragic that during periods of celebration there is a dramatic increase in the number of fires amongst many communities.

"It's not only Diwali and Eid, but we also see an increase at Christmas.

"I would especially urge the celebrating communities to ensure they have a working smoke alarm installed on every floor of their home."

He said fire statistics from across the UK showed there was an increase in fires during Diwali - the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.

He said it was because the festival involves the use of candles, tea lights and fireworks.

Candle fires increase by over a third during the Diwali period and over 20% of deaths UK-wide are caused by candles occur at this time.

During Eid Ul Fitr, celebrated by Muslims to mark the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting, the preparation of special celebratory meals increases the risk of cooking fires.

The celebration involves an increased amount of cooking and entertaining in the home.

Diwali is on 21 October, with Eid on 24 October.

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